A Missouri police officer who was still in training after graduating from the police academy in July has died after being shot by a wanted man who opened fire on officers and was also killed, authorities said.
Independence Officer Blaize Madrid-Evans, 22, was hospitalized with critical injuries following the Wednesday morning shooting and later died, the Independence Police Department said late Wednesday.
The Missouri State Highway Patrol said two officers went to a residence in Independence about 11:30 a.m. in response to a call to dispatch and were met by a man who fired a handgun at the officers.
Madrid-Evans was shot and the other officer returned fire, police said. The man who fired at the officers, later identified by the highway patrol as Cody L. Harrison, 33, of Gladstone, was pronounced dead at the scene.
The highway patrol was investigating. Patrol Sgt. Andrew Bell said Wednesday that officers had received a tip that someone was wanted when they responded.
Missouri Department of Corrections records list Harrison as wanted and “out of custody,” but didn’t specify why he was being sought. Court records show he was sentenced to 15 years in prison after pleading guilty in 2011 to one count of discharging or shooting a firearm at or from a motor vehicle at a person or into a motor vehicle or inhabited structure. No other details about the shooting were immediately available.
A corrections spokeswoman didn’t immediately return a phone message early Thursday. And Patrol Sgt. Bill Lowe said early Thursday that the investigation was ongoing and he had no other information to release.
Madrid-Evans began his career with the department at the Kansas City Regional Police Academy in January and graduated in July. He had entered the department’s Field Training Officer program, the department said.
Officer Jack Taylor, a police spokesman, said Madrid-Evans 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.”
He said the last time the department lost an officer in the line of duty was in 2001, when Terry Foster was killed at the scene of a domestic disturbance. Foster, who was just weeks away from retiring, was shot four times by a man police believe died in a subsequent fire that he started.
In a statement, Independence Mayor Eileen Weir thanked officers and other first responders for their service.
“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,” the statement said.
By Heather Hollingsworth