Quinton Lucas says man accused of killing North KC officer should be sentenced to death


Mayor quinton lucas the man accused of killing a North Kansas City police officer earlier this week is expected to receive the death penalty if convicted.

Joshua Rocha, 24, is accused of killing a police officer Daniel Vasquez during a traffic check on Tuesday morning. Clay County District Attorney Dan White charged Rocha on Wednesday with first-degree murder and felony armed action.

Speaking to radio host Pete Mundo on KCMO talk radio, Lucas said Rocha “murdered” Vasquez and believes a message needs to be sent out to the community.

“We can all have discussions, debates about the justice system, policing in America, reform, there’s no debate here,” Lucas said. “He’s the kind of person who never belongs on the streets again, of course, but I think in a state that has the death penalty, he’s someone who should receive that sentence.”

During Wednesday press conferenceClay County District Attorney Dan White said he won’t decide whether to seek the death penalty until after the investigation is complete and he’s met with Vasquez’s family, members of the police department of North Kansas City and its staff.

Basin was shot at around 10:40 a.m. On Tuesday, when he pulled a gray Ford Taurus with an expired Missouri temporary tag to a traffic stop near 21st Avenue and Clay Street, police say.

Officials allege Rocha shot Vasquez once in the face from the driver’s side door before getting out of the car to shoot him twice more after Vasquez fell to the ground, according to a probable cause statement.

Rocha turned into authorities at the Clay County Annex. He allegedly confessed to a worker that he had committed murder before she called 911, according to court documents.

Death penalty in Missouri

Elyse Max, CEO of Missourians for Alternatives to the Death Penaltysaid Lucas is politicizing the situation by calling for the death penalty before Rocha has even made his first court appearance.

“Calling for the death penalty in this particular case is just a political decision,” Max said. “That’s not the reality of what’s going on with the death penalty system in Missouri.”

In the past, Lucas attempted to seek clemency from a Georgia man while a sophomore law student at Cornell University. Curtis Osborne, 37, was convicted of a double murder in 1990 and sentenced to death.

Lucas appealed for clemency to the Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles. But the appeal was not granted. Osborne was executed in June 2008.

Max said Lucas was divisive and added that asking for the death penalty asked Missourians to participate in a homicide.

“If we’re calling for an end to homicides, then calling for a state homicide won’t be the answer,” Max said. “I think he’s really out of touch with what’s going on in Missouri and Jackson County.”