KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Kansas City, Missouri, Police Department and the Jackson County Prosecutor’s Office released a joint statement Friday morning regarding the circumstances around the suspect who allegedly shot and killed Independence Police Officer Blaize Madrid-Evans.
The Missouri State Highway Patrol said an exchange of gunfire Wednesday in Independence between officers and a suspect left Madrid-Evans and the alleged suspect, Cody Harrison, dead.
Given Harrison’s criminal background, questions arose as to whether Harrison should have been held in detention.
On Sept. 2, KCPD arrested Harrison for having a gun as a felon, which violated his parole.
Police said they held Harrison in a detention unit but decided to let him go pending further investigation. The office did not respond when asked why it was determined Harrison should be released.
The Jackson County Prosecutor's Office said by the time they got the case a week later, Harrison had been out of custody for days.
In Friday’s statement, the two agencies said they are working to “improve ways to intervene and prevent senseless gun violence in our community.”
“The Jackson County Prosecutor’s Office and the Kansas City, Missouri Police Department are equally committed to reducing violent crime. Both agencies understand a Felon in Possession of a Firearm can be a precursor to violence," the statement said. "Today both agencies jointly agreed to examine opportunities to work together to ensure all dangerous offenders are appropriately addressed.”
The statement also said that issues surrounding jail capacity, recent legislative changes and societal attitudes make addressing gun possession and violence “increasingly difficult.”
The statement did not reference a specific legislative change.
KCPD would not comment when asked about specific legislative changes, but the prosecutor's office mentioned a law Gov. Mike Parson signed in Lee's Summit in June.
Earlier this year, Missouri legislators passed and Parson singed into law the Second Amendment Preservation Act. The law prohibits state and local law enforcement from cooperating with federal officials in a way that would "attempt to enforce any laws, rules, orders or actions that violate the Second Amendment rights of Missourians.”
Law enforcement officials in Missouri have expressed concern with the law because its wording is so vague.
A spokesperson from the prosecutor's office also pointed to a 2017 change in Missouri's gun laws that allows gun owners to carry concealed weapons without a permit or training.
It's not clear how provisions of either legislation might have applied to Harrison's case.
KSHB 41 News asked Parson for a comment but as of Friday afternoon, have not received an answer.
Jackson County Sheriff Darryl Forte told KSHB 41 News his office will continue to pursue cases of illegal possession of firearms.
The U.S. Attorney's office declined to comment.
Pertaining to jail capacity concerns raised in the earlier joint statement, this summer the Jackson County Legislature passed measures to move forward with a new detention facility that would be located near the Interstate 435/Interstate 70 interchange.