Springfield police attend fallen Independence officer’s visitation, thankful for organ donation

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INDEPENDENCE, Mo. — Springfield, Missouri police officers traveled to the Kansas City metro to say thank you to Officer Blaize Madrid-Evans family.

The young Independence officer, killed in the line-of-duty, will be laid to rest Friday afternoon. Thursday evening family and friends gathered to pay their respects to the 22-year-old.

While Officer Madrid-Evans lost his life, it gave another brother in blue the chance to live.

Our plan for life is never clear, and for Officer Madrid-Evans, his plan changed in an instant.

“It’s a bad time for all of us really at the department. I’m feeling mixed emotions. A really sad thing that came out of this for someone that’s 22 to lose their life with our department,” Officer Jack Taylor with the Independence Police Department said.

He was 18 shifts and two months into his career when he lost his life in the line of duty. Before he died, Officer Madrid-Evans made a choice to become an organ donor. That choice saved an brother he’d never met, Springfield officer Mark Priebe. His wife, Heather, says officer Madrid-Evans died their hero.

“He’s a hero, and he doesn’t even know. But he’s a hero,” Heather said.

While Officer Priebe recovers from his organ transplant, officers from Springfield came to tell the Madrid-Evans family that his life will blaze on in their department. Lt. Curt Ringgold was brought to tears comprehending the loss of one officer, and the chance at life for another.

“Here’s a chance for one hero to help another hero live. That’s what we’d like. That’s the brotherhood and sisterhood we have with law enforcement. It doesn’t matter if we’re in the same city, the same county or the same state, but to help one another is what’s really important,” Ringgold said.

Priebe was paralyzed last year when Springfield Police say he was intentionally hit by a car outside the department. Then his kidney began to fail in an unrelated and devastating development. Priebe waited on the donor list for months. Now, he’s coming to terms with the sacrifice this young officer made.

“This young, bright, good kid was just trying to do right for his community and to go through what his family is going through at the moment. It’s been hard,” Priebe said.

While the Springfield department never had the chance to meet Madrid-Evans, one day they can thank him on the other side.

“Probably a big thank you, probably a big hug too. Probably a great big hug. Thanks. Probably a real big high five too,” Ringgold said.

“We can’t wait to meet him one day. It’s the We placed that will allow me hope he sees, and I hope he knows what he’s done,” Heather Priebe said.

Governor Mike Parson attended Madrid-Evans visitation earlier in the afternoon with the First Lady. His office says Parson expressed condolences to the department and the young officer’s family.

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