Close-knit community does a double take following shooting where Independence officer was hurt

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INDEPENDENCE, Mo. -- Doors and window locks are getting doubled checked in the neighborhood where Officer Tom Wagstaff was shot Wednesday morning.

Hearing that a burglary led to Wednesday’s officer-involved shooting had folks rethinking their safety near 36th and Delaware. Some neighbors say Wednesday’s events have changed the way they feel about their close-knit community, where everybody knows everybody. They want everybody to know, they plan to be more cautious.

"As far as I can tell it`s always been pretty quiet, and I haven`t had much trouble with anything," said neighbor Garette Norling.

However, that changed when officers responded to a Wednesday morning call of a home burglary in progress.

"We just heard the cops coming in. I know other neighbors heard gunshots and stuff," said a neighbor named Amy.

The incident happened in an area where some people haven`t been so concerned about safety.

"I`m always leaving the front door open all day long. You know kids in and out," said Amy.

"Sometimes I forget to close the doors but nothing happens. One time I got to work and forgot to close the garage door and nothing happened," Dean Dole said.

"Now I`m like, maybe we should lock our doors? Make sure the basement door is locked. I`m mean we`ve always not really been so worried about locking doors," said Amy.

Residents say they`ve never really had a reason to have their guard up, because they`ve heard about every little neighborhood crime. Some hope this is the last they hear of any, and hope it doesn't leave folks with the wrong impression about their neighborhood.

"Initially when I arrived here about a day or so ago, I thought this was a very nice neighborhood all well-kept and all,” said Jerry Lepperd, who is visiting from Iowa.

However, after seeing all those cop cars, Lepperd had this to say to his host: "I said boy, what kind of neighborhood do you live in?"

Those who live in the neighborhood know they aren't immune to crime.

"It happens every day unfortunately. That`s the world we live in,” said Amy.

"I mean you hear these things kind of things on the news all the time,” said Garette Norling.

However, residents are vowing to do what they can to avoid being targeted.

"Maybe I`ll be more careful, you know?” said Dole.

FOX 4 did hear from a man who says he feels pretty secure with his current security methods, but that Wednesday's ordeal will always be on his mind.



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