MPD officer shot in the line of duty honored

CREATED May 13, 2014

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It was a long road to recovery for a Milwaukee Police officer who was shot in the face back in June 2009. The six year veteran officially retired in March.

Officers Graham Kunisch and Bryan Norberg were just doing their job on that summer day five years ago.

Surveillance video shows what happened moments after they stopped a man riding a bike. Julius Burton struggled against them. As the officers tried to restrain him, Burton spun around and opened fire.

"That day that he and his partner were shot pretty much demonstrates what he was willing to do," acknowledges Chief Ed Flynn.

Both officers were shot in the face at point-blank range. Officer Kunisch had a brain injury and lost his left eye. His partner had severe wounds to his mouth and jaw. Today, after a long journey of surgeries and emotional trauma, Officer Kunisch was honored for his sacrifice.

"I don't know what I can say, other than thank you. We both appreciate it, " Kunisch said.

His son, Benjamin, wriggled in his arms as his father, now retired, humbly accepted the recognition.

“Just remember that there have been people on this department longer than me, and they've sacrificed every day not being with their families. So don't forget about those officers as well," Kunisch asked.

"We’re certainly going to miss Graham," Flynn said. "He’s a real example to the department of courage, and his many forms of courage. He’s demonstrated it in many forms, like his willingness to return to the job."

His partner, Officer Bryan Norberg, still works as an MPD officer.