Independence officer shot in head showing optimistic signs, but still in critical condition


Officer Tom Wagstaff

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INDEPENDENCE, Mo. — The chief of police in Independence posted a message on Facebook on Tuesday, knowing many in the community remain concerned about Officer Tom Wagstaff and his family.

Wagstaff was shot on Wednesday, March 29th as he responded to a home burglary in the 3600 block of Delaware, where inside, the 82-year-old homeowner was being assaulted.

When the suspects heard police sirens, they fled in the homeowner’s car. The gunshots were caught on a neighbor’s surveillance camera, and you can see an Independence police officer trying to shoot out the tires of the escaping SUV. Independence Police Officer Tom Wagstaff, 42, was shot while the suspects got away. Moments later, an ambulance sped in to get the injured officer, who had been shot in the head.

Nussbaum, McChan, Wyatt, Santiago-Torres

Joseph E. Wyatt, 28, and Ronar Santiago-Torres, 27, are both charged with first-degree robbery,  armed criminal action, first-degree burglary and kidnapping.  James McChan, 56, and Donald Nussbaum, 51, face first degree robbery, armed criminal action, first degree burglary and kidnapping charges for allegedly acting as accomplices.

The following is the message on Tuesday from Chief Brad Halsey:

Officer Tom Wagstaff is still in critical condition. There have been optimistic signs today but he still has a long road ahead. Your prayers for him are still needed.

We want the public to know that although this has been difficult, the men and women of the Independence Police Department have not wavered in protecting and serving this community and accomplishing our police mission. We remain committed to serving with pride. We were strong before this incident and as a result of the amazing support from our community and our amazing IPD family we will do doubt be stronger from this point forward.

Any official updates about Officer Wagstaff’s conditions will come directly from our Facebook page or directly from the Independence Police Department through other means. We will update when we can.


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