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NORTH KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A year after graduating from the Kansas City Police Department’s Regional Academy, two of the 18 members of the 171st class have already been killed protecting the metro.

North Kansas City Police Officer Daniel Vasquez is the latest to be killed.

A man shot and killed Vasquez during a traffic stop in North Kansas City July 19.

Less than a year before Vasquez died, the 171st class’ Blaize Madrid-Evans was killed in the line of duty. The Independence police officer was shot and killed while checking a house on Sept. 15, 2021.

The tragedy of the two fallen officers were top of mind for Independence Police Officer Nico Pablo Wednesday morning. He spoke during Vasquez’s funeral service.

“This month was our one-year month from graduating from the police academy together. And as Blaize’s one-year anniversary approached, our worlds were flipped upside down again for the worst. On July 19th, 2022, not even a year from Blaize’s passing, the rock to our academy class Daniel Vasquez was unsensibly taken on duty, just doing what he loved,” said Independence Police Officer Nico Pablo, Vasquez’s academy classmate.

Pablo said it’s been a difficult time for the Vasquez family and the North Kansas City Police Department. He said it’s also been emotional for members of Vasquez’s graduating class.

“The son, brother, family man, and friend to all was unjustly taken from this world. No words can describe the brokenness, heartache, and shedded tears that myself, our academy class, North Kansas City Police Department, surrounding agencies, Vasquez family and friends are feeling and experiencing right now,” Pablo said.

Pablo addressed the crowd gathered to honor Vasquez. He said that by personally knowing Vasquez, he knows the fallen officer would want the people he loved to be strong.

“In the academy, our instructors gave us a word that is engraved into our souls. Together. By the grace of God, that word was given to us for a reason. Together we made it through a long six-month training process. Together we leaned on each other when Blaize passed away. Together we made it through FTO. Together we sit here today and grieve. But together we will get through this by continuing to serve and protect for the ones who made the ultimate sacrifice,” Pablo said.

Vasquez and Madrid-Evans paid the ultimate price with their lives.

“Daniel as you look down on us today, give Blaize a hug for us. We will continue to make you guys proud. We love you buddy,” Pablo said.

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