Independence police plan 'hero's homecoming' for officer 8 months after shot on duty

The Independence Police Department is planning a grand public homecoming for Officer Tom Wagstaff, who will leave the hospital next week after being shot in the face while responding to a home burglary in March.

“After eight months of hard work and strenuous rehabilitation, Officer Wagstaff is finally coming home,” the department announced Thursday, calling for a “Hero’s Homecoming.”

Wagstaff, a 15-year veteran with the department, will go home from a rehabilitation hospital on Dec. 8 — and the department is encouraging the public to join officers at Independence City Hall as they welcome him home with a police escort.

Citizens are encouraged to bring signs and blue ribbons, Officer John Syme wrote in a statement.

The next day, the department will have a public ceremony for Wagstaff at 2 p.m. at the First Baptist Church of Blue Springs, 4500 Little Blue Parkway.

“Wagstaff will be recognized and thanked for his actions and will share a special message with attendees,” Syme said.

First, Wagstaff will record a video on the department’s Facebook page in the next few days announcing he is going home.

The public is asked turn out at Independence City Hall, 111 E. Maple Ave., tentatively between 1:45 pm and 2:15 p.m. on Dec. 8 to welcome Wagstaff home.

His police escort will go east on Truman Road, south on Main Street, east on Kansas Avenue, and then north on Memorial Drive to police headquarters. Wagstaff will stop at police headquarters and then continue with the escort home.

The department plans to show the escort on Facebook Live.

Wagstaff was critically injured after responding to a residential burglary March 29 in Independence.

Prosecutors charged four people for their alleged roles in the crime.