‘I committed murder’: Suspect admits to shooting officer, documents say

Joshua Rocha is accused of killing NKC Officer Daniel Vasquez.
Joshua Rocha is accused of killing NKC Officer Daniel Vasquez.(Clay County Jail/Chris Kamler, The Platte County Landmark)
Published: Jul. 20, 2022 at 1:40 PM CDT
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WARNING: The story contains graphic content.

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (KCTV) - Joshua Rocha was charged with first-degree murder and armed criminal action in the fatal shooting of a police officer.

In a probable cause document, Rocha described to officers the events that led up to and following the killing of North Kansas City Police Department Ofc. Daniel Vasquez.

He told investigators that he was on his way to a gun shop to buy ammunition for his .300 Blackout rifle. While on his way, Vasquez pulled over Rocha at the intersection of 21st and Clay streets while the suspect was in a 2006 Ford Taurus, the document stated.

Law enforcement said Tuesday the traffic stop was due to an expired temporary tag from 2018. Rocha told police he did not want to go to jail or have his vehicle towed, so when Vasquez approached the driver-side door of the Taurus and looked through the window, Rocha shot him with the rifle he had in his car, the probable cause document stated.

The shooter told officers that Vasquez fell backward. Rocha said he stepped out of the car and shot the officer again while Vasquez was laying on the ground. He told police that at some point, his rifle jammed, so he had to clear it, the document stated. Upon doing so, he shot the North Kansas City officer again.

Rocha then drove off and tried to change his appearance, to the point of shaving his goatee and changing clothes. He spray-painted the rear of his car and removed the temporary license tag, the document stated.

The shooting suspect walked inside the Clay County Annex in the 1900 block of NE 48th Street and told an employee he needed to turn himself in. According to the probable cause document, Rocha said:

“I committed murder.”

Law enforcement arrived and arrested him without incident, police reported. While being interviewed, Rocha admitted to officers he had shot a police officer during the traffic stop and drove off. He also said he knew the person he shot was a police officer, court documents stated.

The Clay County Prosecutor’s Office announced Rocha’s bond has been set at $2 million. An arrangement hearing has been scheduled for Thursday at 1:30 p.m.

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