Fallen Officer Blaize Madrid-Evans' donated kidney goes to Springfield, Missouri officer
Shortly after Independence police officer Blaize Madrid-Evans was killed in the line of duty last week, his status as an organ donor became public knowledge.
The first disclosed organ recipient is a fellow police officer in Missouri.
Springfield police officer Mark Priebe, severely injured in the line of duty in 2020 and in need of a new kidney for a few months, had surgery Saturday to receive one of Madrid-Evans' kidneys.
After waking up Sunday, Priebe said he was “forever grateful” to Madrid-Evans and his family.
“I truly believe God had his hand in this, and it's been difficult to comprehend why I am allowed to continue to live, and this young, brand-new officer had to pay the ultimate sacrifice,” Priebe said in a release. “I hope that I can honor him and his family by the way I live my life.”
Madrid-Evans, 22 years old and just a few weeks into his field training with Independence police, died late Wednesday after he was shot earlier in the day by a man wanted for a parole violation and skipping a court hearing regarding a burglary charge. Madrid-Evans and a fellow officer were doing a residence check after receiving a tip of the man's possible location.
The second officer quickly returned fire and shot the man, 33-year-old Cody Harrison, who died at the scene. The Missouri State Highway Patrol continues to investigate the shooting.
Madrid-Evans, a Smithville High School alum, graduated from the regional police academy in July. He had worked with American Medical Response (AMR) as an EMT before that.
According to Springfield police, Priebe, a 21-year-veteran of the department and a father of two, was intentionally hit by a vehicle outside police headquarters and was left paralyzed on June 9, 2020. About a year later, he learned his kidneys were failing and the next month started dialysis.
Priebe's wife Heather noted that Sept. 18, the day of surgery, was National Thank a Police Officer Day.
“We are still emotional from this whole situation, as you can imagine, and this is part of our journey that you cannot make up,” Heather Priebe said in a release. “Mark has once again been given a second chance, thanks to a member of our thin blue line family. We hope we have the opportunity to meet Officer Madrid-Evans’ family in the near future, and we pray for them as they navigate through the days ahead.”
Madrid-Evans' body remained at Centerpoint Medical Center in Independence until Saturday for organ donation procedures, and that day an officer motorcade escorted the body from the hospital to the Jackson County medical examiner's office.
A couple dozen people lined Jackson Drive near the hospital to pay their respects, and the Independence Fire Department used two ladder trucks to hold a United States flag overtop the procession there.
The non-profit Independence Police Foundation had set a fundraising goal of $10,000 to assist Madrid-Evans' family. Lois McDonald, foundation board president, said Monday morning that goal had been topped, with more than 350 contributions and counting. Funds collected beyond the goal will go toward various support programs for IPD officers in Madrid-Evans' honor, the foundation posted on social media.
SERVICES: Public visitation for Office Madrid-Evans will be 5 to 8 p.m. Thursday at the Community of Christ Auditorium, 1001 Walnut St., Independence. Funeral services will be at 11 a.m., Friday at the same location, and the public is welcome to attend, Independence police said.
Graveside services will follow Friday at Mount Washington Cemetery in Independence. Police are planning a procession route from the auditorium to the cemetery.