North Kansas City, MO – North Kansas City Police Department (NKCPD) Officer Daniel Vasquez was murdered in the line of duty on July 19 while conducting a traffic stop.
The incident occurred after the 32-year-old officer spotted a 2000s-model gray Ford Taurus with temporary tag that expired in 2018, KCTV reported.
The tag had previously been registered to another vehicle entirely.
Officer Vasquez stopped the driver in the area of Clay Street and 21st Street at approximately 10:40 a.m., KCTV reported.
Investigators said the suspect pulled out a gun at some point during the encounter and shot Officer Vasquez in the head, according to the Daily Beast.
A witness said she was grooming a dog at her workplace nearby when the gunfire erupted, KCTV reported.
“I had my headphones on,” she recalled. “I looked at my coworker suddenly and her face looked like she was panicked. She told me she heard gunshots.”
The woman looked outside and spotted a group of construction workers rushing away from the area.
That’s when she spotted the wounded officer.
“I could see the officer lying on the ground,” she told KCTV. “When I approached the officer, he was badly injured.”
Another officer arrived at the scene a moment later and began performing CPR on Officer Vasquez, who was subsequently rushed to North Kansas City Hospital.
The wounded hero ultimately succumbed to his wounds.
The Missouri State Highway Patrol issued a Blue Alert for the suspect vehicle, which was canceled shortly before 2 p.m. after the suspect turned himself in to police in Kansas City, WDAF reported.
The suspect’s identity was not immediately released, nor was a motive for the deadly shooting.
Officer Vasquez served the NKCPD for two years, KCTV reported.
“[He was] a shining star for our department,” NKCPD Chief Kevin Freeman said during a press conference on Tuesday. “All these are tragedies. But to see such a young person so early on his career lose his life to such senseless violence, it’s just unfathomable.”
Chief Freeman described Officer Vasquez as “a phenomenal person” who was “easy to talk to,” KCTV reported.
“He didn’t have an enemy. Everybody was his friend,” the chief continued. “It’s just senseless. It’s senseless all the time, but he was just a great, great human being.”
Chief Freeman said the horrific murder has rocked the “tight-knit community,” KCTV reported.
“It’s going to be a struggle for a while, for our officers to come to grips with that and be ready to still go out and do the job, but crime doesn’t stop,” he said.
North Kansas City Mayor Bryant DeLong said the city is “deeply hurting” from the “devastating loss” of Officer Vasquez.
“I cannot express how excruciating this senseless death is for our organization and community,” DeLong wrote in a Facebook post on Tuesday. “Daniel’s family, the NKC Police Department, and our entire community are grieving from this tragedy.”
“Our community needs to draw strength from each other and give support and compassion to those who are grieving,” the mayor continued. “Lastly, I ask that you join me in lifting up Daniel’s entire family, including his NKC Police Department family, in sincere and heartfelt prayer.”
Officer Vasquez’s murder was the first line-of-duty death for the NKCPD.
A message from @bryantd23: As many of you have heard by now, we lost one of our own today. This morning, NKCPD Officer Daniel Vasquez was killed in the line of duty while performing a car stop in a neighborhood. 1/3 #nkcpolice pic.twitter.com/Rp5DZSpKaY
— North Kansas City (@cityofnkc) July 19, 2022
— KS Highway Patrol (@kshighwaypatrol) July 19, 2022
— Lenexa Police (@LenexaPolice) July 19, 2022
A man came to the scene and left flowers to honor NKC Officer Daniel Vasquez. He spoke with my colleague @DanCohenTV, saying he had “multiple pleasant encounters” with Vasquez.
— McKenzie Nelson (@McKenzieMNelson) July 19, 2022
The scene outside @nkcpolice department this morning, with flowers left by mourners, and candles still burning. Live coverage of the death of officer Daniel Vasquez this morning on @KSHB41. pic.twitter.com/H7Tc9vvfDz
— Taylor Hemness (@taylorhemness) July 20, 2022
Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of North Kansas City Police Department Officer Daniel Vasquez, both blood and blue. Thank you for your service.
Officer Daniel Vasquez, your life mattered.