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Missouri Governor calls for support of law enforcement following death of officer in Independence

Officer Blaize Madrid-Evans
Officer Blaize Madrid-Evans(Independence Police Department)
Published: Sep. 16, 2021 at 11:00 AM CDT
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INDEPENDENCE, Mo. (WIBW) - Missouri Governor Mike Parson is calling for the support of law enforcement following the death of an officer in Independence.

KCTV5 reports that the Missouri State Highway Patrol is investigating an officer-involved shooting that killed one officer and a suspect on Wednesday morning in Independence.

At about 11:30 a.m., Independence Police responded to an area of E. 24th St. South and S. Northern Blvd. with an anonymous report that a person in the yard was possibly a wanted individual.

According to reports, upon arrival, officers came across a male suspect who fired a gun at officers, hitting one. The second officer returned fire, hitting the suspect, Cody L. Harrison, 33, of Gladstone, Mo., and killing him.

Independence Police Officer Blaize Madrid-Evans, 22, was shot and critically injured. Around 10:45 p.m. that same night, IPD confirmed that Madrid-Evans had died from his injuries.

According to IPD, Madrid-Evans had just graduated from the Kansas City Police Academy on July 8, 2021, and was still finishing his field training with the department.

Harrison was pronounced dead on the scene.

Reports indicate that MSHP’s Division of Drug and Crime Control will investigate the officer-involved shooting. However, the investigation could take weeks or even months to complete. Authorities are also investigating the initial call, who made it and what the wording of the tip the officers received was.

“To think that things can’t be resolved peacefully, even if you had a warrant. Why can’t it be resolved peacefully? Officers are trained to do their best, to resolve everything they can peacefully and it’s heartbreaking that violence of this nature could potentially take someone’s life, like this officer, and has taken on a life of another individual,” said Sgt. Andy Bell with MSHP.

Employees at nearby Central Bank of the Midwest mistook the gunshots for firecrackers. While those passing on nearby 23rd St. saw the events unfold.

“I was coming down off 23rd, coming from a DoorDash order, and I heard multiple shots fired,” said Durrell Johnson, who was in the area at the time. “There were a whole bunch of cops pulling people over as they came down the street. So we said, ‘OK, let’s do it,’ because we got a pause from DoorDash. We pull up and there’s nothing but cops here.”

While residents of the neighborhood said they are used to a heavy police presence due to the amount of drug-related crimes in the area, they said they were shocked to hear that an officer was shot and a suspect was killed in broad daylight.

“It’s always been a really good, tight-knit community -- for the most part -- in neighborhoods,” said Connie Donahoo, who lives nearby. “But, it just seems like everything is out of control now. Everybody’s scared. Everybody’s on edge. And, we just want peace and quiet in our city.”

“Anytime first responders are involved, it’s just heart-wrenching,” she added.

Following the incident, Brad Lemon, President of the Kansas City Fraternal Order of Police spoke to the media and said the support for Madrid-Evans has been tremendous.

“Being with the Independence FOP the last couple hours, and watching the city manager show up and their HR office and city employees showing up and showing love to the men and women that do this job, waiting for the best possible news they could hear, it’s just -- and people showing up and giving them food -- it’s just been incredible to watch,” said Lemon.

Independence Police Chief Brad Halsey said the continued support is greatly appreciated.

“In the past during difficult times, our community has rallied together to support our police family. Your continued thoughts and prayers are deeply appreciated” said Chief Brad Halsey.

“Every day the officers of the Independence Police Department put their lives on the line to protect the citizens of our community. We are ever hopeful that their daily interactions with the public will be peaceful so that they might return home to their families safely at the end of their shift. Today, that was not the case. At this time, our thoughts are with the officer, their family and the Independence Police Department. We know our citizens are already rallying behind the department and looking for ways to support them, but we encourage you to wait for further information,” said Independence Mayor Eileen Weir. “To all of our officers and first responders, please know that we support you and honor the sacrifice you make to keep our community safe. Thank you for your service.”

Missouri Governor Mike Parson even offered support for Madrid-Evans on Facebook and called this a time to stand up for law enforcement.

“If there was ever a time to stand up for law enforcement, now is the time. They remain the front-line response for Missourians, and we must support them and give them the respect they deserve,” said Parson. “We honor Officer Madrid-Evans and are eternally grateful for his service and sacrifice.”

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