Police reports released Monday say that an off-duty Kansas City firefighter celebrating his wedding was intoxicated when he beat up a cab driver and a police officer who then shot and killed the groom.
A dispute over a cab fare started a series of events that led to an off-duty Kansas City Police Department officer fatally shooting Anthony V. Bruno.
Kansas City fire Chief Paul Berardi said he had a "heavy heart" and had spoken numerous times with Police Chief Darryl Forte about the shooting.
Bruno, 26, was shot about 2:30 a.m. Sunday in the chest, and Officer Donald Hubbard, 42, was seriously injured during the altercation, authorities say. Police say Bruno pinned Hubbard to the ground and was repeatedly hitting him in the area, leaving Hubbard no choice but to fire his service revolver.
Hubbard, a 17-year veteran of the department, must undergo facial reconstruction surgery for the injuries he suffered during the attack, police say. Hubbard is a command sergeant major in the National Guard with 25 years of service and multiple tours of duty overseas.
Bruno joined the Kansas City Fire Department in 2008 and was assigned to Station 17, said Battalion Chief James Garrett.
Bruno was celebrating his wedding to attorney Stephanie Steele with a reception in downtown Kansas City Saturday night.
A police report released Monday afternoon says that a City Cab driver picked up Bruno, Steele and Bruno's cousin at Anthony's restaurant. The 55-year-old driver took the three to the Marriott Muehlebach Hotel, and the fare was about $6.The hotel is near 12th Street and Wyandotte Avenue.
As Bruno and his new wife prepared to exit the cab, they asked the cab driver about taking Bruno's "very intoxicated" cousin to his Northland home, according to the police report.
The cab driver kept the meter running during the conversation, which apparently enraged Bruno, who punched the cab driver in the head, police say.
"The victim leaned forward to avoid any additional punches, but the suspect also leaned forward from his position and continued striking him in the face with a closed right fist," the report states. "The victim stated that he attempted to exit the vehicle at this time when the suspect opened the driver side sliding door of the vehicle and continued to physically assault him. The victim stated that he was punched in the right side of the torso, neck and face by the suspect."
As this was occurred, Hubbard, who was in uniform and working security at the hotel, ran to the scene. As Bruno fled the scene, Hubbard gave chase, according to the police report.
While this was unfolding, Steele, who was reportedly still in her wedding dress, told officers that she and her husband argued with the cab driver over him continuing to run the meter.
"She said during the argument, she stated that the cab driver threw the money she had given him back toward her near her face and called her an unknown name," the report says. She said this verbal dispute caused her husband to punch the cab driver.
Steele, a local attorney, worked for the Clay County Prosecutor's Office from February 2010 to November 2011. Her current employer declined comment Monday.
The cab driver suffered bruising to his face, including his nose area. His face and clothing were bloody, an officer said.
The chase between Hubbard and Bruno ended in the 1300 block of Baltimore Avenue.
"At that location, the suspect began fighting the officer in an assaultive manner. Subsequently to this assault, the officer was seriously injured," Kansas City Police Department spokesman Capt. Tye Grant said. "Fearing for his life, the officer fired his duty-weapon striking the suspect."
Hubbard and others performed CPR on Bruno who was rushed to the hospital, where he would die.
KCTV5 photographer Steve Tur saw the officer after the shooting and said the officer appeared to have injuries.
"The officer was admitted into the hospital with serious injuries," the news release states.
The officer was released from the hospital Sunday night. The swelling around Hubbard's face must go down before the reconstructive surgery can be performed.
Grant said the officer will be OK. On Sunday afternoon, Grant confirmed that the officer's injuries are mainly around the head and face.
"He was hit pretty hard and repeatedly during the fight," Grant said.
He declined to confirm a local blogger's report that the officer suffered a skull fracture and broken bones to his face.
Bruno was assigned to truck No. 2 on the C shift.
"Friends and family of the Kansas City Fire Department remember Anthony Bruno of Fire Station 17 as a courageous and dedicated firefighter," Berardi said. "He was a third-generation member of the fire department."
Bruno's father, John, is a retired deputy fire chief. Anthony Bruno is also survived by his mother, his sisters and his new wife.
John Bruno said Monday that the family would be issuing a statement soon and declined additional comment. He said the ordeal has been absolutely devastating to Anthony Bruno's family.
Steele had registered on various wedding sites and listed her wedding date as Nov. 16 and the reception in Kansas City on Nov. 30. A family member said the wedding was in Florida.
"All of us at the department offer our sincere condolences to the entire Bruno family as they grieve their loss," Berardi said.
City Manager Troy Schulte is out of town and a spokesman referred to Berardi's statements.
Mayor Sly James said Monday that city officials are not jumping to conclusions and called it a tragic situation.
"We have two of our first responders involved in life-threatening situations that didn't turn out well," James said. "So at this point what we are trying to do is be respectful of the feelings of everyone involved and to get to the bottom of the facts."
James vowed "to support those who needed to be supported in any way and to do so without trying to find a way to blame ... one side or another."
Anthony Bruno was a member of the International Association of Fire Fighters, Local Union No. 42. Union President Michael Cambiano said Forte and others have assured him "that this tragedy will be investigated with the utmost respect to the grieving community that is in shock at this time."
Cambiano added that Anthony Bruno "will be missed and never forgotten" and asked for prayers for his family, friends and crew members.
Neighbors and friends said they were stunned because violence was not in character for Anthony Bruno.
"He was just one of those kids that always tried to help around the neighborhood and if there was a problem, he was always right there to help anyone that needed help," said Ray Martin, who has known Anthony Bruno for 10 years. "I know there's a lot of grief in that home right now and we're not sure as neighbors how to approach them either because it's really sad. I feel for the family. It's really bad."
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