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Family, friends, and law enforcement officers from across the region gathered Friday to honor Independence officer Blaize Madrid-Evans, who was shot and killed while serving the Independence community.
Madrid-Evans was slain Sept. 15, just days into his field training program, while responding to a home where a wanted suspect was said to be.
Friday, as law enforcement officers and first responders gathered outside the Community of Christ Church auditorium in Independence, bagpipes could be heard warming up in the distance. The funeral was scheduled to begin at 11 a.m.
Officers from the Lee’s Summit, Blue Springs and Sugar Creek police departments were prepared to answer calls in Independence so that Madrid-Evans’ fellow officers could attend the funeral.
Independence Police Department Chaplain Virgil Garner said Mardrid-Evans chose to life his life by example. He selflessly helped his classmates at the academy.
His calling was to something greater than himself, Garner said. Quoting scripture, Garner said there is no greater love that to lay down your life for a friend.
“Today we gather to honor such a man,” Garner said.
Outside the Community of Christ Church auditorium in Independence where funeral services will begin in about a half hour for Blaize Madrid-Evans, an Independence police officer who was killed while on duty. pic.twitter.com/6Z2diNe3Tw
— Bob Cronkleton (@cronkb) September 24, 2021
Independence Police Chief Brad Halsey said Madrid-Evans came to the department a short time ago.
Unselfish, coachable, open minded, caring, honorable are some of the words others used to described him, Halsey said.
“And a hero,” he said. He said his fellow officers will be picking up where he left off.
“We must move forward in honor of Blaine’s memory,” Halsey said. He urged his fellow officers to “Stay IPD strong.”
Following the funeral, a procession left the church, stopping at Independence Police Headquarters where it paused for a moment of silence before continuing on to Mount Washington Cemetery.
Missouri Gov. Mike Parsons ordered U.S. and Missouri flags be flown at half-staff at government buildings in Jackson County on Friday in honor of Madrid-Evans.
Prior to becoming a police officer, Madrid-Evans joined American Medical Response in Independence in September 2019 as an emergency medical technician.
Paul Lininger, operations manager at AMR, recalled that those who had conducted a pre screening interview wrote that he was well spoken, confident and “dressed to impress.”
“A definite yes,” Lininger said the screeners wrote.
Lininger said he wondered if Madrid-Evans just had great interview skills. He soon learned that was just his personality.
Madrid-Evans had a consistent desire to push himself to be better and he honed his well to be a confident EMT, Lininger said.
If he had one fault, it was not being able to learn that an ambulance was wider than a car.
“There were no safe curbs in Independence,” Lininger said in humor.
He said they were proud of him and lived him.
“We will miss you always,” Lininger said.
As a high school student, he often talked about his career plans of joining the military after graduation and becoming a combat medic.
But after he graduated in 2018, he decided on a career in law enforcement. Madrid-Evens, who was engaged to be married, graduated from the Kansas City Regional Police Academy in July.
He had had only been on patrol for 18 days when he and his field training officer responded to a residence in the 2400 block of South Northern Boulevard on a tip that a suspect, later identified as Cody L. Harrison, was inside the residence.
As they approached the house, Harrison fired a handgun at them, striking Madrid-Evans. The other officer returned fired, shooting Harrison, according to authorities. Madrid-Evans was rushed to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead several hours later. Harrison died at the scene.
On Sunday, Springfield police officer Mark Priebe received a new kidney that was donated by Madrid-Evans, who was an organ donor. Priebe began dialysis in July when his kidneys began to fail, the result of a 2020 crash that also left him paralyzed.
Officer Grant DelaCruz, who attended the academy with Madrid-Evans, said he was one of the most caring, if not the most caring, officers of his class.
“Watch our six,” DelaCruz said to Madrid-Evans. “We got it from here.”