JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — The dome of the Missouri State Capitol will be turned blue in honor of Kansas City, Missouri, police officer James Muhlbauer, K-9 Champ, and other fallen officers across the state.
Gov. Mike Parson issued the order to take place from sunset on Friday, May 5 to sunrise on Saturday, May 6, leading up to National Police Week.
“Behind every badge is a hero who has sworn to protect and serve, and for those who have made the ultimate sacrifice, we will never forget their dedication to making our state a safer place for Missouri families,” Parson said. “Let us honor these courageous individuals and their families still with us today, as we are forever inspired by their selflessness and commitment to our communities.”
Muhlbauer and other fallen Missouri officers will be honored during a candlelight vigil Friday at 8 p.m. A memorial service will be held at 10 a.m. Saturday morning.
Muhlbauer and K9 Champ died while on patrol near Truman Road and Benton Boulevard Feb. 15.
Jerron Allen Lightfoot, of Tonganoxie, Kansas, is charged with two counts of first-degree involuntary manslaughter in connection with the crash. Lightfoot,18, posted a $3,000 bond on Feb. 17 and was released on house arrest. He is required to stay in Jackson County, according to the court.
According to court documents, Lightfoot was speeding and ran a red light before hitting officer Muhlbauer’s car.
Fallen North Kansas City police officer Daniel Vasquez will also be honored with a special moment. His name, along with the names of seven other law enforcement and corrections officers who died in the line of duty in 2022, have been added to the state memorial’s Wall of Honor.
Joshua Rocha, 24, is charged in Clay County with one count of first-degree murder and one count of armed criminal action in Vasquez’ murder.
According to court records, on July 19, 2022, Vasquez, 32, stopped Rocha for an expired tag on his car.
Rocha later admitted to shooting Vasquez five times with a rifle. He told officers he shot the officer because he didn’t want to go to jail or have his car towed.
He pleaded not guilty in court on Sept. 1, 2022.
Vazquez will also be honored at the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Washington, D.C. this month. His name is one of 556 fallen officers added to the National Memorial this year.