INDEPDNENCE, Mo. — Just 22 years old, engaged to be married, and gunned down in the line of duty.
On Thursday, tributes continued for Independence Officer Blaize Madrid-Evans, killed during a residence check for a wanted suspect midday Wednesday.
Madrid-Evans was shot by a suspect and critically injured during that call. Late Wednesday night, the Independence Police Department shared word of his passing. He had graduated from the police academy just over two months prior.
Family members wishing not to be directly attributed say Madrid-Evans was protective, especially about his family. They called him service-driven, continually working toward a career as an emergency responder.
Flags are at half-staff near the Independence Fallen Office Memorial where a growing number of flowers rest among blue ribbons tied to nearby poles and trees.
“I have family who are police officers and my heart breaks for his family and the department. It’s just a token that we’re thinking about him,” Karen Smith said as she dropped a bouquet at the site.
“I think they said he was like 22 or 23 and I’m 25. So he’s only a couple of years younger than me,” said Michael Melton, another person visiting the memorial.
Madrid-Evans at age 22 was still a part of IPD’s field training officer program. During Wednesday’s incident- sometime after 11:30 a.m., investigators say a man armed with a handgun shot the young officer. Another uninjured officer returned fire killing the suspect.
“I don’t think a lot of people realize what our officers go through. And not just our officers but the people inside, the dispatchers as well. Cause there was somebody on the other end of that call that had to dispatch them out and had to deal with the aftermath,” Melton said.
Brad Lemon, president of the Kansas City Fraternal Order of Police, said when these deaths happen it awakens the fears and feelings of officers – and their families – across the region.
“I mean, think about it. Yesterday morning they had a son. Today they don’t. You know, I’ve said this before, when the lights go off it’s when it’s the worst for us,” Lemon said.