Fellow academy graduates, first responders vow at vigil to ‘Blaize On’ for Independence officer

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INDEPENDENCE, Mo. — Hundreds gathered in front of the Independence Police Department for a candlelight vigil Thursday night in honor of fallen 22-year-old Officer Blaize Madrid Evans.

“From day one in the academy they tell you you’ve got to be prepared for the worst,” North Kansas City Officer Scott Haney said.

But the 23-year -old recent Kansas City Regional Police Academy graduate didn’t know the worst would happen so soon to one of his fellow academy members.

Madrid-Evans was shot and killed Wednesday following up on a tip about a wanted suspect at an Independence home.

“We are barely two months out of the Academy, learning the ropes trying to improve then you get this news you know it’s possible but it hits different,” Haney said.

That news hitting hard for the hundreds who gathered Thursday night, they included members of Madrid-Evans family, community members, police officers from Independence and around the metro and their families.

“We have to continue to be there for them and show them that we support them and care for them and we’ll be there for them,” said Bailie Schnackenberg, an officer’s wife.

Three-year-old Finn showed support handing out cards to every police officer he could find with the simple message “We Need You.”

“Little kids they don’t know the aspect of what’s going on but it’s nice they have a good family to show us some support,” said Blue Springs Officer David Harding.

Thursday night as officers from all around the metro shook hands or embraced it was a time of healing and with every candle burning, motivation as the newest officer would have wanted his department and fellow graduates to “Blaize On.”

“That just helps us and gives us the strength to move past this tragedy and continue to do what we do,” Independence Officer Jack Taylor said.

“There’s still a job to be done we will carry it on in his name,” Haney said. “There will always be an incentive to think of him and all the hard work he put in and pushed me in the academy.”

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