SPRINGFIELD, Mo.- Last week, a police officer in Independence, Missouri, was shot and killed while on duty, but even after his death, the officer helped one of his own by donating a kidney.
Officer Blaize Madrid-Evans was killed on September 15 after being shot by a suspect and critically injured during a call for service. Sgt. Andy Bell with the Missouri State Highway Patrol said Independence police received some type of tip that led them to a home in the neighborhood.
When the two officers arrived at the house, investigators said a man armed with a handgun met them. The man shot Madrid-Evans. The uninjured officer returned fire and hit the gunman.
Officer Madrid-Evans was an organ donor. On September 17, the family of Springfield Police Officer Mark Priebe was notified that Madrid-Evans and Priebe were a match for a kidney donation.
The Priebe family then went to St. Louis to have surgery to place the kidney the following day.
“I am forever grateful to Officer Madrid-Evans and his family for providing this direct donation,” Officer Priebe said. “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. I hope that I can honor him and his family by the way I live my life,” Priebe said Sunday after the operation.
In June 2020, Officer Priebe was intentionally struck by a vehicle outside of the police headquarters on Chestnut Expressway, leaving him paralyzed. According to the Springfield Police Department, in June 2021, Priebe learned his kidneys were failing, and the next month he began dialysis.
“September 18 was National Thank A Police Officer Day. It was also the day that Mark was the recipient of a new kidney,” said Officer Priebe’s wife, Heather. “We are still emotional from this whole situation, as you can imagine, and this is part of our journey that you cannot make up. 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.”