NORTH KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Flags are at half staff in North Kansas City Tuesday night while residents nearby try to process Officer Daniel Vasquez’s death a few hours earlier.

Investigators say Officer Vasquez was conducting a traffic stop on a car in North Kansas City when the driver got out and started shooting at the officer.

A few hours later, the suspect turned himself in. A short time after that, Clay County Sheriff Will Akin announced Officer Vasquez died from his injuries.

For the North Kansas City residents, the day started with a Blue Alert to their phones, which is used when suspects pose a danger to police. It’s similar to Amber Alerts, when suspects pose a danger to children.

The events of the day brought Melannie Miller out to her front lawn with a hammer and nails despite the heat.

“I’d love to see every tree up here with a sign on it,” said Miller after hanging up three signs showing support for Officer Vasquez and his department. “He’s a human being and I want people to remember that.”

She said North Kansas City is a small enough city and department, with only a few dozen officers, that even if residents don’t know officers my name, they likely recognize them by sight.

“My heart dropped to my stomach,” said Miller, talking about when she got the Blue Alert. “I thought, ‘Oh God, please don’t let it be anybody I know.”

Across the street, Drew Stiehl said no one in North Kansas City is every too far removed from anyone else.

“For a town this size, it’s pretty devestating,” Stiehl said. “I’m on the Planning Commission and my neighbor is a Police Dispatcher so there’s a lot of people that live and work here that try and keep the community afloat.”

That’s part of the reason Kyle Miles signed the card Miller was planning to drop off at the North Kansas City Police Department.

“I think people want to show that as a community, while they’re not a family member, we’re all a big family here in northtown,” Miles said.

“These are people that normally I wouldn’t talk to but today, everybody’s a friend,” said Miller, looking at her card.

If you want to help Officer Vazquez’s family, you can find information about donating here.

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