Law enforcement and community members honor North Kansas City officer slain during traffic stop

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Law enforcement and community members are honoring the life of fallen North Kansas City Police Officer Daniel Vasquez, who was fatally shot last week during a traffic stop.

“It is a sobering reminder of the dangers our brave law enforcement officers face every day,” U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt said in a statement. “It takes exceptional courage, character, and selflessness to be a law enforcement officer. I am grateful for Officer Vasquez’s service, and my thoughts are with his family and colleagues at the North Kansas City Police Department.”

“It was only this month that Officer Daniel Vasquez observed his 1-year anniversary of becoming a police officer,” the Missouri Department of Public Safety tweeted. “(North Kansas City Police) Chief Kevin Freeman called him a ‘shining star’ and a ‘great human being.’ Today, he paid the ultimate price for his brave service to Missouri #NeverForget.”

Chief Freeman also said it was a “sad day for Kansas City.” 

“Words will never describe the feelings over the loss of a fellow officer in the line of duty,” Clay County Sheriff Will Akin said. “Please be in thought and prayer for Daniel’s family, @nkcpolice, and the [North Kansas City] community. Thank you for all you’ve done Daniel. Rest easy brother, we’ll take it from here. #EOW”

The Kansas City Fraternal Order of Police has set up a memorial fund for Vasquez. In addition to the fund, Kansas City area grocery store Price Chopper will be collecting donations at the register until Aug. 5. All money will go directly to the Vasquez family. 

Vasquez also was a friend of Blaize Madrid-Evans, an Independence, Mo., police officer who was shot and killed by a burglary suspect last year. The two officers graduated from the police academy last year. 

Machelle Madrid, the mother of Officer Madrid-Evans, told KMBC 9 news, “When Daniel and [Blaize] would stand next to each other, people would be like, ‘Who needs light in a room? When you’re together, you just light up a room!’”

Dozens of officers showed up in support of Vasquez the day after the shooting, leading an escort with their police lights on for the ambulance transporting the fallen officer to a funeral home.

Vasquez stopped suspect Joshua Rocha last Tuesday for driving a vehicle with a temporary tag that expired in 2018. Once the officer approached the driver’s side window, Rocha allegedly shot Vasquez in the head. Rocha is said to have stepped out of the vehicle and shot Vasquez, who was laying on the ground, two more times.

Rocha admitted to shooting Vasquez hours later, saying that he “did not want to go to jail or have his vehicle towed,” according to police reports. The suspect is charged with first-degree murder and armed criminal action. His bond is set at $2 million and he will be represented by a public defender.

A public visitation is set for Tuesday from 5 to 9 p.m. at Vineyard Church, 12300 NW Arrowhead Trafficway, Kansas City, Missouri. The funeral is set for Wednesday at 9 a.m. at the same location.

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