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14-year-old babysitting toddler during attempted burglary that ended with 2 Kent officers shot

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Posted at 10:35 AM, Jan 16, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-19 09:36:03-05

KENT, Ohio — Two Kent police officers and a burglary suspect were shot in an officer-involved shooting Saturday morning in Kent.

It happened around 8 a.m. in the 1500 block of East Summit Street near Loop Road, police said.

Officers Lenny Kunka and Kyle Auckland responded to the location after police received a 911 call from a female regarding a burglary in progress. It was later discovered the female caller was a 14-year-old babysitter who was home with a 1-year-old child.

According to Kent Police Lt. Michael Lewis, the two officers were “physically engaged” by a man, later identified as Dante Darnell Dixon, 40, of Cleveland Heights, inside the home as soon as they arrived. The man was in possession of a firearm.

Multiple shots were fired during the struggle. Kunka was shot in the hand and Auckland was shot in the chest. Dixon was shot in the abdomen, police said.

Police said even after Dixon was shot, he continued to resist and fight with officers.

All three were transported by paramedics from the Kent Fire Department to nearby hospitals for treatment.

Kunka, who was shot in the hand, was released from the hospital Saturday. Auckland was saved by his bullet-resistant vest. He was also released from the hospital Saturday.

“We’re very grateful to say that the injuries to our police officers are relatively minor and they are expected to be fine and make a full recovery,” Lewis said.

According to police, Dixon sustained a gunshot wound to his abdomen that required surgery. He was released from the hospital and taken to the Portage County Jail on charges of aggravated burglary and felonious assault on police officers.

An investigation revealed Dixon is known by a resident who was not home at the time of the burglary. Police said his intentions are still unknown. The vehicle he drove was parked multiple houses away from the home on East Summit Street.

Lewis thanked the officers for protecting two children from a gunman.

"These officers selflessly put themselves in harms way to protect two innocent children from a gunman. We could not be more proud of these courageous and heroic officers, Officer Lenny Kunka and Officer Kyle Auckland. Officer Lenny Kunka is a 5-year member of Kent PD with prior service as a Deputy at Portage County Sheriff's Office. Officer Kyle Auckland is a 7-year member of Kent PD with service in the US Army National Guard. Both officers are recovering with their families, and we respectfully ask that they not be disturbed."

The Kent Police Department was assisted on scene by the Ohio State Highway Patrol. The investigation has been turned over to the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation.

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