Independence Police Officer Tom Wagstaff, who was critically injured in the line of the duty eight months ago, will be returning home next week.
The Independence Police Department has announced a “Hero's Homecoming” for Wagstaff, who was shot in the head while responding to a residential burglary March 29, underwent life-saving surgery and has been rehabbing at a facility in Nebraska for several months. Wagstaff will be welcomed back the afternoon Dec. 8 in front of IPD headquarters on Memorial Drive, and a gathering will take place Dec. 9 at First Baptist Church of Blue Springs, 4500 Little Blue Parkway.
The police escort bringing Wagstaff and his family – he and his wife have two sons – back to Independence is tentatively scheduled to arrive between 1:45 and 2:15 p.m., Dec. 8. Wagstaff will stop briefly before the escort takes him home. The Dec. 9 gathering at the church will be at 2 p.m. Wagstaff will be recognized and thanked for his actions and will share a message with attendees. The public is invited to both events.
Police also said Wagstaff will share a brief video on the department's Facebook page before he arrives home.
Wagstaff was shot after he and several other officers responded to a burglary and home invasion call. The person who called police is a friend of the burglary victim who had access to a surveillance video feed from the victim's house and noticed the crime.
Four male suspects have been charged in the case – two alleged burglars who fled the home in a stolen vehicle by busting through the garage door, then were arrested after a short chase, and two others who drove the burglars to the neighborhood. They all have pleaded not guilty and await trial next spring and summer.
Numerous fundraisers took place in the months following the incident to support Wagstaff's recovery and his family.