‘Hearts are heavy’: Slain Independence officer was newly engaged, 18 days on the job

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Blaize Madrid-Evans, the 22-year-old Independence officer who was fatally wounded during an armed encounter with a Gladstone man on Wednesday, was recently engaged and had begun patrol duties only 18 days earlier.

Madrid-Evans was accompanied by his field training officer when they responded around noon to a residence in the 2400 block of South Northern Boulevard, Independence police said. Madrid-Evans was wounded during an exchange of gunfire involving another man, who was also killed.

The suspect, identified by authorities as Cody L. Harrison, 33, died at the scene.

In a statement posted on Facebook, Gov. Mike Parson expressed his condolences to the Independence police on the death of Madrid-Evans.

“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,” Parson said. “We honor Officer Madrid-Evans and are eternally grateful for his service and sacrifice.”

The Missouri Highway Patrol is leading the shooting investigation. Sgt. Andrew Bell said the officers were summoned to the residence about 11:30 a.m. Wednesday after someone called police with a tip that a “person may have been wanted for something.”

Bell did not detail what the tip was but said examining it would be part of the highway patrol’s investigation into the shooting.

The officers were then met by the suspect who fired a handgun at them, striking Madrid-Evans, Bell said. The other officer returned fire and shot the suspect.

Officer Jack Taylor, a police spokesman said Madrid-Evans, of Smithville, had graduated from the Kansas City Regional Police Academy in July and had been a patrol officer for 18 days.

In a written statement Independence Mayor Eileen Weir said the community is grieving the loss of one of its officers. Weir encouraged residents to wear blue, display their American flag, and to thank those first responders.

Outside police headquarters in Independence Thursday morning, flowers had been placed at the foot of a memorial dedicated to officers who have been killed in the line of duty.

“Our hearts are heavy today as we mark the loss of one of our own,” Weir said. “Officer Madrid-Evans died protecting our community, and that sacrifice cannot and will not be overlooked.”

“We are a community that values our first responders and they need that love now more than ever,” she said.

Funeral arrangements remained pending as of Thursday.

In a Facebook Taylor Robert, a fellow Independence police officer said: “I am going to miss you buddy. Just yesterday at around 0945 hours we were sitting at the station talking about how excited you were to be doing this job & how you’ve loved it so far.

“You were always so happy & brought so much life into everything you did. I’m struggling brother.”

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