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Man sentenced to 40 years for crimes that led to shooting of Independence officer

INDEPENDENCE, Mo. — A 30-year-old man has been sentenced to decades in prison for a series of crimes related to a shooting that seriously injured an Independence police officer.

A judge found Joseph Wyatt guilty in December on eight felony charges, including robbery, burglary, assault and kidnapping. On Monday, Wyatt was sentenced to a total of 40 years in prison for those charges.

Joseph Wyatt’s mugshot from the Jackson County jail.

According to court documents, Wyatt and another man forced their way into a home and beat up an 82-year-old man in March 2017.

That man testified he was sitting at his home computer, looking at stocks when two young men, one later identified as Wyatt, knocked on his door. They offered to clean his gutters, then mentioned a lost dog and ended up leaving.

The man said minutes later they came back and forced their way into his home, shoved him into a glass sliding door and repeatedly beat him and threatened to “blow his head off.”

They made repeated demands to access his safe, but he refused to give them the code. They zip tied his hands and stole a stack of cash and a gun. Then police arrived, and the suspects demanded the man’s car keys.

Officer Tom Wagstaff during a May 2013 interview with FOX 4.

Police said the men got into the victim’s SUV and backed out through the garage. The man said he then heard gunshots. Police took him to the ground until they learned he was the victim and got him to the hospital.

During the chaos, Officer Tom Wagstaff was shot. The Independence officer suffered a serious brain injury but survived.

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