INDEPENDENCE, Mo. – Beyond the pain and loss that the Independence community feels, there is also confusion. It is still unclear why 33-year-old Cody Harrison shot independentist police officer Blaize Madrid-Evans, but also why was he released from prison and in possession of a gun?
The last 10 years of Harrison’s life have been spent in prison or in the justice system. That leaves a lot of people wondering why he was released from prison to begin with.
Former Platte County District Attorney Greg Plumb said there were several reasons.
Harrison’s life ended in a violent confrontation. Missouri Highway Patrol said he killed Madrid-Evans when he entered a house where Harrison was hiding.
“When you knock on that door, you just don’t know what’s on the other side of that door,” Sgt. Andy Bell said after the incident.
An image from Harrison’s Facebook page gives a glimpse of what the young officer may have seen. The tattoos on Harrison’s body refer to a prison gang and say “if you don’t blow up you won’t last”.
The legal network surrounding the 33-year-old criminal makes many wonder how he got there.
“It’s kind of like a hospital emergency room,” Plumb said. “You can have a day, a Saturday, where you get 50 cases that come in in about eight hours. The same can happen in a prosecutor’s office. Then it’s a matter of prioritizing and usually what comes first are murder cases. “
For over 30 years, Plumb has taught criminal justice at Park University.
“With the prisons full and with the pressures of COVID – the judges are really in a tough spot in terms of who they let out, who they keep,” Plumb said.
Harrison was released from prison after seven years in 2018 for shooting a gun from a car. It was then that he apparently tried to change his life. In 2018, he went to work in a moving company. His former employer tells FOX4, Harrison lied about his criminal history to get the job, but was a good employee. For a while he was their best. However, his behavior changed and after two years he was fired.
Then his former boss said he returned in late 2020, broke in and stole more than a thousand dollars in cash and equipment from their office.
“The progression from non-violent crime, which includes possession of a gun, to murder is a huge leap forward. It’s not something you would see a lot. Usually there would be more stages where there would be a violent event, ”Plumb said.
However, it seems Harrison was the exception. He was charged with burglary and theft in this case. Jackson County Judge Twila Rigby released him at the end of August on his own recognizance, but days later he was back in jail.
He was arrested by the KCPD on September 2 as a police officer spoke to him and a gun fell from his belt. He was arrested for being a criminal in possession of a gun.
Jackson County District Attorney Jean Peters Baker said they did not receive the KCPD case until September 9. and was shot.
Yesterday took place a tragic and violent act committed by Cody Harrison. We, as well as our community, wish he did not make this heinous choice. This loss is felt throughout our community because there is one hero less who will serve and protect the City of Independence. Our thoughts and condolences remain with the family of Officer Blaize Madrid-Evans, the Independence Police Department and the entire community.
Kansas City, Missouri Police Department
While there was an arrest warrant for Harrison before he was killed, the Missouri Highway Patrol said Independence Police were called to the house on an anonymous report that someone inside was wanted for a shootout. However, the person did not specifically tell the dispatcher that it was Cody Harrison and that there was more than one person in the house. Unfortunately, when the police arrived, another shootout claimed the life of an officer who had barely begun to join the force.
Harrison could have faced looming gun possession charges when he was arrested on September 2, but those charges were never filed.
Peters Baker tweeted a response to the loss of Madrid-Evans, but the Independence Police were responding to a call and not serving a warrant at the time of the shooting.
An officer tragically lost his life while attempting to serve a warrant. Harrison was wanted for a parole violation arising out of a Clay Co. case We believe the parole violation was in part due to a second charge of JaCo of burglary. Our hearts are heavy. And we cry with our community.
Jackson County District Attorney Jean Peters Baker