Officer Blaize Madrid-Evans died Wednesday after a shooting incident at the 2400 block of South Northern Boulevard in Independence, Missouri. The officer was hospitalized in critical condition following the incident. He was pronounced dead a few hours later.
According to police, the shooting involved 33-year-old suspect Cody L. Harrison from Gladstone who opened fire on two cops with a handgun, striking Officer Madrid-Evans. The Missouri State Highway Patrol, which is currently leading the investigation, confirmed that both officers returned fire. Harrison was pronounced dead at the scene.
Officer Blaize Madrid-Evans had only just begun his training earlier this summer after graduating from the Kansas City Regional Police Academy in July. He had since entered the Independence Police Department’s Field Training Officer program. Police spokesman Officer Jack Taylor confirmed that the officer was engaged.
“It is pretty somber right now, just kind of a state of shock really,” Taylor said Thursday. “Just trying to process what happened yesterday and figure out what the next steps are.”
Though not a lot of information has been released regarding the shooting, authorities did say that Officer Madrid-Evans and his partner had been responding to a call when he was struck. Reportedly without warning, the officers had been met with gunfire. It was reported that the shooter, Cody L. Harrison, was a wanted man.
The Independence Police Department announced the officer’s “end of watch” on Facebook Wednesday night. “It is with heavy hearts that we announce that this evening, Officer Blaize Madrid-Evans succumbed to his injuries and passed away,” the post read. The department claimed that there was no further information to be released, though it would keep the public updated as the investigation unfolds.
Independence Mayor Eileen Weir thanked all first responders for their service to the community in her statement Wednesday. “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,” Weir said.
In a Facebook post from the Kansas City, Missouri, Police Department, the department wrote that “our sincerest condolences go out to our brothers and sisters of the Independence Police Department and to the family of the Officer who made the ultimate sacrifice.” It continued, saying that “words cannot express how sorry we are for your loss. We will continue to keep you all in our thoughts and prayers.”
Officers around the country are mourning the fallen officer. Police departments in and around Missouri released statements sharing support for Officer Blaize Madrid-Evans’ family, friends, and brothers in blue.
“Our thoughts and prayers go out to brothers and sisters across the state at the Independence Police Department who lost one of their own last night,” the St. Louis Police Department wrote on Facebook. “The Officer who was shot and killed was 22-year-old rookie Blaize Madrid-Evans. Our thoughts and prayers are equally with his family during this tragic time.”
Even beyond Missouri, police departments mourn the fallen hero. In a statement from the Kansas City, Kansas, Police Department, the department wrote that “it’s been a rough day in law enforcement as an officer with the Independence, Missouri Police Department was shot and critically wounded this morning while responding to a call for service.”
The statement continued, explaining to the public that “it’s a brutal reminder of the risks faced daily by the men and women of law enforcement. Why do we do it? Simply take a look at this card that we received today from a young student at MacArthur Elementary. It couldn’t have arrived at a better time. Please, join us and keep the officer, his family, and the Independence Police Department in your prayers and thoughts.”
The department shared a picture of a hand-drawn card that read: “Thank you for your service” in bubble letters. It continued on the inside, reading: “Dead officers, thank you for all you do. Thank you for making sure everyone is safe. Thank you for making sure nothing bad happens. Thank you for your service.”
The child concluded the letter, writing: “P.S. I have a brother who is totally a criminal (his crime is being too annoying.” The touching sentiments were shared across Facebook posts and their comments sections, with police supporters sending their love for the affected family, as well as for other police officers and first responders.