Suspect Allegedly Killed Mo. Police Officer During Traffic Stop Because He Didn't Want to Go to Jail

Joshua Rocha, 24, faces charges of first-degree murder and armed criminal action after allegedly firing at police officer Daniel Vasquez as Vasquez approached his car door

Daniel Vasquez
Daniel Vasquez. Photo: Kansas City FOP

Police say a man accused of fatally shooting a Missouri police officer during a traffic stop allegedly confessed to firing off his rifle five times during the incident because he did not want to go to jail, according to multiple reports.

Joshua Rocha, 24, faces charges of first-degree murder and armed criminal action in connection with the Tuesday shooting death of 32-year-old North Kansas City Police Officer Daniel Vasquez, Clay County Prosecutor Daniel White told reporters during a press conference.

Rocha's bond has been set at $2 million.

According to WDAF-TV, KSHB-TV, and KRCG-TV, which cite probable cause documents, Vasquez attempted to pull Rocha over in Kansas City, Mo., for expired tags Tuesday morning.

Police say Rocha immediately fired a .300 Blackout rifle at Vasquez as he approached his car door.

Rocha then allegedly exited his vehicle and shot Vasquez again, as he lay on the ground.

KSHB, citing police, reports the rifle malfunctioned, prompting Rocha to allegedly clear it, reload, and shoot Vasquez one last time, emptying the magazine.

Rocha allegedly told police he believes he fired off at least five rounds during the incident, per the station.

Following the shooting, Rocha allegedly fled the scene. He allegedly shaved his goatee, changed his clothes, removed the tag from his vehicle and spray-painted the back of it.

Hours later, Rocha turned himself in to authorities and allegedly admitted to the killing of Vasquez "because he did not want to go to jail or have his vehicle towed," according to the outlet.

During an interview with investigators, Rocha said he was on his way to buy ammunition for his rifle, when he was pulled over by Vasquez.

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"He was my baby brother," Vasquez's sister Areli Vasquez said during a vigil for the fallen officer Wednesday, according to KCTV. "His dream was to be a police officer because he wanted to serve the community. He wanted to be a hero. They took him away from us."

In a statement, North Kansas City Police Chief Kevin Freeman said Vasquez was "a shining star in our organization, and we are deeply hurting from this devastating loss."

It wasn't immediately clear if Rocha entered a plea to the charges or retained an attorney to speak on his behalf.

If convicted of murder, Rocha could face the death penalty or life in prison without the possibility of parole.

A fundraising page has been set up to benefit the Vasquez family.

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