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Published July 09, 2011, 08:54 AM

Bismarck Officer Shot, Killed During Domestic Disturbance Call

A 32-year veteran Bismarck police officer was shot and killed while responding to a domestic disturbance call about a man threatening a woman with a knife, authorities said Saturday.

By: Associated Press,

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — A 32-year veteran Bismarck police officer was shot and killed while responding to a domestic disturbance call about a man threatening a woman with a knife, authorities said Saturday.

Sgt. Steven Kenner, 56, and another officer responded to the call at about 11 p.m. on Friday and found the suspect, 52-year-old Steven G. Bannister, sitting in a van outside a trailer home on the city's east side, police said. As they approached the van, Bannister shot Kenner. The other officer returned fire, wounding the Bannister, they said.

Kenner was rushed to a hospital, where he died, Bismarck Police Chief Keith Witt said. He was the married father of three.

Bannister remained hospitalized on Saturday. Witt said he didn't know what condition Bannister was in, but that he doesn't think his wounds are life-threatening.

Bannister was arrested on suspicion of murder, Witt said. Burleigh State's Attorney Richard Riha said he expects to formally charge Bannister on Monday. He said Bannister did not have a lawyer representing him.

The officer who shot the suspect, whose name was not given, has been placed under administrative leave, which is department policy when an officer shoots someone, Witt said.

Lorne Campbell, a witness to the shooting, told the Bismarck Tribune that he saw two officers run to a parked van across from a trailer park and then heard shots.

"They yelled at the occupants of the van: 'Police officers. Show me your hands.' They asked that several times," Campbell said. "I walked out of view, and I heard about eight shots, and I turned around and went back and looked, and I saw a police officer on the west side of the van lying on the ground."

Court records show that Bannister pleaded guilty in 2006 guilty to charges of terrorizing, carrying a concealed weapon and bringing a firearm into a bar or gaming site. He received a one-year suspended sentence for each charge.

A woman who answered the door Saturday at the trailer from which the police call originated declined to comment.

Outside the Bismarck police station Saturday, officers lowered the department's flag to half-staff in honor of the slain officer.

Witt said that Kenner is the first Bismarck police officer killed in the line of duty.

The Fraternal Order of Police on its website described Kenner, who served on the National FOP Board of Trustees, as being "giant in stature" but said he was known for his "kind and gentle disposition and selfless service to others."

North Dakota has had 49 other officers die in the line of duty since 1882, according to the Officer Down Memorial Page, an independent website that compiles the names of law enforcement officers nationally who are killed on the job.

The most recent North Dakota law officer killed on the job was correctional instructor Roger Sorenson, who drowned in the Little Missouri River at Theodore Roosevelt National Park in 1996 while attempting to cross the river on horseback while supervising juvenile inmates on a hike.

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