Got him: Suspect arrested in murder of police officer who responded to a domestic disturbance

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CLIFTON, TN – According to reports, authorities arrested a 48-year-old man under charges of first-degree murder regarding the fatal shooting of a Hardin County deputy who was among other local law enforcement who responded to a domestic disturbance report on September 25th.

The incident began after Hardin County deputies and Clifton Police responded to a residence located off of Nance Bend Road in Clifton for a reported domestic disturbance at approximately 8:30 p.m. on September 25th.

Upon the arrival of officers, officials say they encountered 48-year-old Todd Stricklin, who was reportedly armed with a firearm during the initial confrontation. Officers on scene told the suspect to drop the weapon, but Stricklin reportedly refused to do so.

During the confrontation with the suspect, authorities say Hardin County Deputy Matthew Locke approached the residence to assist with the incident and was shot by Stricklin.

Deputy Locke was rushed to an area hospital after the shooting, where he later passed away from his sustained injuries, according to a statement provided by Hardin County Sheriff Johnny Alexander:

“Hardin County Sheriff Deputy Matthew Locke was assisting another deputy regarding a domestic disturbance call when he was senselessly fired upon. Deputy Locke ultimately succumbed to the injuries he tragically sustained while serving and protecting his community with honor and distinction.”

Following the shooting, authorities say that Stricklin fled into a wooded area nearby his residence, where Tennessee Highway Patrol officers located him a few hours after the incident.

Stricklin was booked into the Hardin County Jail under a charge of first-degree murder before being later transferred over to the Chester County Jail.

Outside of having served with the sheriff’s department, Deputy Locke was also a member of the Tennessee National Guard. Sheriff Alexander said the country had “lost a hero” with the passing of the deputy:

“Our country has lost a hero. Our department has lost a brother. We will never forget Deputy Locke, and we are all forever in debt for his sacrifice.

On behalf of myself and everyone with the Hardin County Sheriff’s Department, we express our deepest condolences to members of Deputy Locke’s family, his friends and loved ones.

I also want to express my support, care and concern for all members of the Hardin County Sheriff’s Department, the City of Savannah Police Department and our surrounding colleagues from other departments as you are unfairly forced to mourn this tragic loss.”

Hardin County Mayor Kevin Davis also released a statement regarding Deputy Locke’s death, calling the receipt of the news as being “one of the hardest calls” he’s ever had to take during his time as mayor:

“Last night, I was informed Hardin County Deputy Matthew Locke lost his life while assisting another deputy during a domestic disturbance call. Without a doubt, this was one of the hardest calls I’ve received during my service as Hardin County Mayor.

Deputy Locke was a deputy and soldier who served his community and his country with honor, courage, commitment, dedication, and devotion. Deputy Locke was known to be a fearless warrior with a servant’s heart. Our community has lost a hero, and a family will never be the same, all because of this senseless tragedy.”

District Attorney Matthew Stowe stated that he “activated the death penalty team” regarding the case against Stricklin, saying that his office “will not allow murder to go unpunished”:

“Upon learning the details of the shooting, I have activated the death penalty team who will be reviewing the evidence and charges to determine if this shooting of a law enforcement officer meets the standard for a capital murder crime.

We will not allow murder to go unpunished in the 24th Judicial District. While other parts of the country struggle with unlawfulness and activists who encourage violence against police, the people of our West Tennessee district stand firm in support for our officers and the rule of law.”

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Final act of heroism: Kidney of fallen police officer given to another cop to save his life

(Originally published September 22nd, 2021)

SPRINGFIELD, MO – Independence Police Officer Blaize Madrid-Evans, who was killed in a shootout with a suspect earlier in September, is continuing to save lives even in death.

He was an organ donor, and his kidney served as a match for a Springfield Police officer in need of a transplant.

As we had previously reported here at Law Enforcement Today, Officer Madrid-Evans was only 22-years-old when he died in a shootout with 33-year-old repeat offender Cody L. Harrison back on September 15th.

Harrison was also killed during the shootout when officers returned fire outside of the residence located within the 2400 block of Northern Boulevard in Independence.

As fate would have it, Officer Madrid-Evans was an organ donor and Springfield Police Officer Mark Priebe needed a new kidney – which the late officer’s kidney served as a match.

Officer Priebe was paralyzed after being intentionally struck by a vehicle back in June of 2020.

The Springfield officer’s kidneys began to fail this past June and he started dialysis in July. Come September 17th, Officer Priebe’s family learned of the match and the transplant was performed the day after.

While Officer Priebe stated that he is “forever grateful” for Officer Madrid-Evans’ kidney serving as a match, he’s also heartbroken knowing that the officer died so young and early into his career, saying “why I am allowed to continue to live, and this young, brand new officer had to pay the ultimate sacrifice. I hope that I can honor him and his family by the way I live my life.”

Speaking with local news outlet KY3 two days after the procedure, Officer Priebe expanded on those emotions he’s feeling:

“I think that’s probably the hardest thing for me to soak in is, I get to live, and I’ve already lived ‘til 46 years old and done my career. And he was just trying to get started, and he’s already gone from us. And that’s where it’s hard for me to really truly understand that.

And I just have to put my faith in God and not look for all the answers and just trust in him that there’s purpose and a reason behind it all.”

Officer Priebe’s wife says that he’s still on a liquid diet, but that doctors say he should be ready for real food soon and that things are looking good after the transplant.

The officer said from his hospital room during the interview that he’s keeping Officer Madrid-Evans’ family in his prayers and credits the family with giving him more time than he “was supposed to before”:

“We know God was watching over me, and we pray for the family that, where the donation came from. We’re thinking of them as we go about our days each day now too.

They gave me a second chance to be healthier and live even longer than I was supposed to before. But love everybody. Keep praying that we heal and there’s no complications and no rejections of the kidney and we can just keep moving forward.”

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Suspect in fatal shooting of police officer was out on bond, had active warrant out for his arrest

(Originally published September 18th, 2021)

INDEPENDENCE, MO – According to reports, the 33-year-old now-deceased suspect accused of the fatal shooting of 22-year-old Independence police Officer Blaize Madrid-Evans earlier in September was reportedly out on bond during the fatal shooting of the officer.

The news of the deceased suspect’s long criminal history and having had an active warrant for his arrest prior to the killing of the officer has spurred outrage within the community.

Authorities identified the man accused of killing Officer Madrid-Evans as 33-year-old Cody L. Harrison, who was killed during the same incident by return fire from a second officer on scene.

The shooting reportedly happened on September 15th at approximately 11:30 a.m. at a residence in the 2400 block of Northern Boulevard.

The Missouri State Highway Patrol stated that local officers were dispatched to the home where they were confronted by Harrison who opened fire on the responding officers. Officer Madrid-Evans was struck during the incident and later died at the hospital.

A second unnamed officer returned fire on Harrison, killing him.

Missouri State Highway Patrol officials say that the police response to the home came from a tip that there might be a wanted person at the residence, but the origins of the tip are still being looked into.

Following the killing of Officer Madrid-Evans, scrutiny was directed toward police and prosecutors after it was found that Harrison was not only out on bond during the time of the incident from a previous case – he was also arrested earlier in September for being a felon caught in possession of a firearm.

Not only that, but there was also a warrant out for his arrest for failing to appear in court for a 2020 burglary case.

Mike Mansur, a spokesman for Jackson County Prosecutor’s Office, addressed the complex nature of Harrison’s run-ins with the law and why he wasn’t in custody prior to the fatal shooting, countering early reports that suggested prosecutors weren’t after Harrison for the gun arrest from September 2nd:

“Contrary to early reporting, the Jackson County prosecutor’s office had not declined to prosecute or file a case against Cody Harrison who was out of jail when he shot an Independence Police officer this week.

In fact, a warrant for Cody Harrison’s arrest was issued on Sept. 13, 2021, after he failed to appear for a hearing in late August in a criminal case initiated in February 2021. We requested that arrest warrant.”

Mansur explained how Harrison was able to attain bond from his November 2020 burglary case that was filed this past February, noting that the court eventually released Harrison without having to post any bond – despite the prosecutor’s office requesting bond be set at $10,000:

“At the time we filed that case, our office’s original request was for a bond of $10,000/10 percent, which is within the state Supreme Court’s bond guidelines. The court, however, issued the $6,000/10% bond and it was later reduced by the court to an ROR [released on own recognizance] bond.”

Mansur continued from there, further explaining the matter regarding Harrison’s September 2nd arrest and why he wasn’t held in custody after being arrested:

“In addition, Kansas City police submitted to us on September 7 a new case on Harrison for earlier that month: carrying a firearm which he was prohibited to carry because he was a convicted felon.

That case was under review for charging in our office. Though arrested on September 2, we did not receive the case until September 9, when Harrison had been out of custody for days.”

Harrison’s criminal history dates back to 2011, when he was convicted out of Clay County for shooting at a motor vehicle. He was sentenced to 15 years in prison but was released on parole by 2018.

Still being on parole for his November 2020 arrest, he went back to prison and was released on parole again on May 24th of 2021 – and since his bond on that case was reduced to free, he was free to walk about.

Unfortunately, Missouri parole board decisions are not public record, and thus it is unclear why the parole board would’ve set him free while he still had a pending criminal case against him.

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