LIBERTY, Mo. — The Clay County prosecutor plans to seek the death penalty for the man charged with killing North Kansas City police officer Daniel Vasquez.
Joshua T. Rocha is charged in Clay County with first-degree murder and armed criminal action in the death of 32-year-old Vasquez.
“My heart continues to go out to Officer Vasquez’s family, the NKCPD and all those affected by this case,” Clay County Prosecutor Zachary Thompson said.
Vasquez died in July after prosecutors said Rocha shot him during a traffic stop. Investigators said Vasquez stopped Rocha’s car because of an expired temporary tag.
According to court documents, video from Vasquez’s dash camera showed Rocha opening the door of his car and immediately shooting at Vasquez. Rocha then got out of the car and shot Vasquez two more times after the officer fell to the street.
The video shows Rocha got back into his car and drove away, according to the court document. Police later took him into custody after a pursuit.
Rocha pleaded not guilty to the charges in September.
The case will be tried in Clay County, but a jury from the St. Louis area will be brought in to hear the case.
Thompson addressed his decision Tuesday afternoon with members of Vasquez’s family and some North Kansas City officers standing with him.
“I think it says a lot about the bravery and encouragement of the officers from NKC and Officer Vasquez’s family to be here today,” Thompson said.
Thompson said his office has all the evidence needed to move forward.
Only Thompson spoke during Tuesday’s announcement, but he said he consulted with Vasquez’s family and NKCPD.