Slain KCK deputy, a single mom, thought she made safe choice to work prison transfers

Deputy Theresa King at a Swope Park Rangers game Thursday night, one day before she was shot by an inmate at the Wyandotte County Correctional and Court Services building.
Deputy Theresa King at a Swope Park Rangers game Thursday night, one day before she was shot by an inmate at the Wyandotte County Correctional and Court Services building. Courtesy of Meg Rauh

Wyandotte County Sheriff's Deputy Theresa King, known to friends as TK, thought she was making the safest choice when she decided to work as a court transport officer before she would start a new job in August.

"She just had a new glow about her because she found out she had just been promoted to be a school resource officer and would be in her girl's school," close friend Meg Rauh said of King's new job.

King, a single mother of three, died shortly after midnight Saturday morning from injuries suffered during a shooting Friday at the Wyandotte County Correctional and Court Services building in downtown Kansas City, Kan. The shooting also took the life of Deputy Patrick Rohrer.

Rohrer, 35, was a graduate of Shawnee Mission Northwest High School and had been on the force for seven years, according to a GoFundMe page created to raise money for funeral expenses and to support his family.

The page was started by J.C. Easley, a high school classmate of Rohrer's.

"He was well liked by all, kind, considerate and compassionate," Easley said.

A GoFundMe page was set up to assist the family of Deputy Patrick Rohrer. GoFundMe

Rohrer's family has asked for privacy and did not wish to comment at this time.

King, a 13-year veteran on the force, was particularly close to Det. Brad Lancaster and Capt. Robert Melton, members of the Kansas City, Kan., police department killed in the line of duty in 2016, Rauh said.

She was the first person JJ Karlinger met in the police academy in 2008. He reconnected with her at a student resource officer training session just a week ago.

"She represented the best in all of us," Karlinger said. "She was incredibly smart, funny and caring. I remember the way she reached out to the younger officers at the academy and helped to guide them."

At SRO training, all she could talk about was her kids. She was thrilled to start a job that would put her on the same schedule, and in the same building, as her youngest daughter, 7.

"We’re standing inside this school and she’s talking to me, ear to ear smile, talking about her kids," he said.

After hearing about the shooting, Karlinger set up a GoFundMe page to assist her two adult children and young daughter.

King had spent the past years working all the overtime she could so she was able to raise her daughter and help her older children if they needed it. The youngest will stay with her 24-year-old brother and his wife who live in the Kansas City area, Rauh said.

"All she thought about was her family," she said.

Her 21-year-old daughter, Bailey King, posted photos of her mother — and best friend — on Facebook Saturday morning.

"Mom you are the strongest, bravest woman I have ever known and the most amazing mother anyone could ever ask for, you brought so many people joy, you’ve touched so many lives," she wrote.

King owned four horses. She moved them to Rauh's pasture in Linwood, Kan., less than a year ago. Rauh said she had owned the horses for over 20 years and talked about them like they were her children.

King alongside one of her four horses. Courtesy of Meg Rauh

"She had so much joy," she said. "Overflowed with joy when talking about her kids and horses."

Rauh plans to rename her pasture TK's Place.

A vigil for King and Rohrer is scheduled for 8 p.m. Sunday evening in front of City Hall in Kansas City, Kan.