Kris Zimmerman landed a surprise ally Tuesday in his efforts to get his late wife Danielle’s wedding ring back: Wichita Mayor Carl Brewer.
The mayor, speaking at a City Council meeting, asked residents to find Danielle Zimmerman’s wedding ring, which was stolen after she suffered a brain aneurysm Dec. 29 at a fast-food restaurant. She died the next day.
Brewer also wants people to understand that what happened to Zimmerman “isn’t what we do in Wichita. ... It’s something that just isn’t acceptable.
“It’s horrible. That’s all you can say. It’s horrible,” he said. “It’s taking low to a whole new level.”
“Well, that’s just great that he would do that,” Kris Zimmerman said about the mayor’s comments. “I had no clue that was going to happen.
“The kids, they want to help me get it back, because they know it’s real sentimental to me. ... We were together for 21 years, married, and dated for four years. I think the kids know it means a lot to to me to get that ring back. And for them, she was their mom. It’s important.”
Brewer opened the council meeting with a passion-laced expression of horror about the robbery of Zimmerman, 43, in the first moments after she suffered an aneurysm in the drive-through lane of a Taco Bell at 3725 E. Harry.
Zimmerman’s truck crashed into a speaker in the drive-through after she fell ill. Before emergency crews could arrive, thieves stole her purse, credit cards, cellphone and wedding ring.
Two 19-year-old men – Daquantrius Shaquill Johnson and Quanique Dontrell Thomas-Hameen – were arrested Friday night after a Crime Stoppers tip.
A third man suspected in the case, identified in records as 19-year-old Keith Byron Hickles Jr., turned himself in on an unrelated probation violation at the Sedgwick County probation office at 525 N. Main on Monday afternoon, Lt. Doug Nolte said.
Though some of Danielle Zimmerman’s property has been recovered, some of it – including the ring – has not.
Brewer implored the council audience on public television: Let’s get that ring back.
“This is not accepted in this community,” the mayor said. “And I want to demonstrate that we don’t stand for this.”
He urged anyone with information about the crime or the whereabouts of the jewelry to call the police.
“Let them know, or let us know, where this jewelry is so we can return them to the family, take justice and get this individual before the courts,” he said.
Such a crime is not reflective of Wichita, the mayor said, expressing his own outrage and what he said he has heard from council members and the community.
“I think individuals need to understand that I wish 100 percent of the citizens in our community were perfect,” Brewer said. “Like anything else, there are flaws. We are not perfect. There isn’t a community in this country, even with a population of 10 people, that isn’t a flaw there. There’s going to be someone who won’t do the right thing.
“But I want to make sure people understand the citizens of Wichita are good citizens – good people, good Christians – who will help those who are less fortunate,” he said. “In saying that, I don’t want all the citizens of Wichita to be judged by the actions of one person.”
Instead, the best of Wichita lies in the people who tried to help Zimmerman, the mayor said.
“But again, understand that this is not tolerable,” Brewer said. “It’s not accepted in our community, and I want each and every citizen to demonstrate that you will not stand for it.”
Crime Stoppers has offered $2,500 for tips leading to the ring’s recovery. The mayor wouldn’t rule out rewards.
“You don’t know what these council members are going to do on their own,” he said.
Zimmerman said he appreciates the mayor’s words.
“In one sense, maybe through this tragedy it’ll bring the people of this city more into helping others,” he said. “If you see a crime being committed, step up and do the right thing. Help make Wichita a better city to live in versus being afraid to live in a city like this. I hope everybody learns from this. If you see somebody hurting and needing help, take the time. Be compassionate. Help somebody.”
Contributing: Stan Finger of The Eagle