NORTH KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A former colleague of 32-year-old Officer Daniel Vasquez remembers him for having the best qualities one would want in a community protector.

“He was the best of everything,” said Bobbi Baker-Hughes.

Baker-Hughes is the president and CEO of the Northeast Kansas City Chamber of Commerce and the manager of the Independence Avenue Community Improvement District.

Before his time with the North Kansas City Police Department, Vasquez worked for the Independence Avenue CID as a security officer.

“He had a heart as big as the world could want,” Baker-Hughes said. “Broad shoulders and a big heart, you can’t really ask for anything more. And that smile, we lost a great man today.”

Back in 2018, Vasquez was recognized in the Northeast News for helping apprehend a federal suspect wanted for attempted murder, and more.

“Danny really did the community great favors with that detainment,” Baker-Hughes said.

Baker-Hughes says that was a great skill of the man she lovingly called Danny, his ability to de-escalate situations.

Tragically, police say Tuesday morning’s incident at 21st and Clay in North KC didn’t end peacefully.

Officers said Vasquez stopped a car around 10:30 a.m. for an expired tag when the driver got out and shot him.

“I heard a really loud noise,” witness Katie Riggio said. “I just saw the cop cars coming down the street.”

Police Chief Kevin Freeman announced Vasquez died at the hospital during a Tuesday afternoon news conference.

“To see such a young person so early on in his career lose his life to a senseless act of violence is just unfathomable,” Freeman said.

Police say the suspect surrendered in the Northland about three hours later.

Since the news of Vasquez’s death, the community has rallied around his department and loved ones.

For Baker-Hughes, her Danny died a hero.

“His dream was to be a police officer, and he died working his dream,” Baker-Hughes said.

“All he ever wanted to do was be a cop,” said a friend who works for Kansas City, Kansas police, and didn’t want to be identified. “When I say that he was one of the nicest people you’ll ever meet, I absolutely mean it.”

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