Video captures fatal confrontation between police officer, firefighter

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.


KANSAS CITY (KCTV) — Cell phone video captured the final moments when a routine arrest turned into a fatal confrontation between an off-duty firefighter celebrating his wedding reception and a Kansas City police officer working security.

The Kansas City Police Department’s office released the 180-page case file on Tuesday in response from a Missouri Sunshine Law request from KCTV5. On Feb. 14, a grand jury cleared Officer Don Hubbard in the fatal shooting death of Anthony Bruno.

Ashley Janzen, a nurse who witnessed the fight and shooting, told police, “It is a situation that went wrong.”

Bruno had been celebrating his recent nuptials during a reception that lingered into the early morning hours of Dec. 1. Bruno got into an altercation over a fare with a cab driver who had driven him, his bride and a friend from a downtown restaurant to a nearby hotel.

Hubbard, who was working off-duty security at the hotel but in uniform, responded. He chased Bruno and was in the process of putting him in handcuffs when Bruno began to pummel Hubbard, authorities said.

Police say Bruno pinned Hubbard to the ground and repeatedly punched him in the face, leaving Hubbard no choice but to fire his service weapon. The grand jury agreed.

Because he was working off duty, Hubbard was not assigned a Taser.

Hubbard suffered significant injuries including broken facial bones. Bruno was shot twice in the chest. Bruno’s blood-alcohol content was .21, according to his autopsy. You are considered legally intoxicated at .08. Video taken at Anthony’s restaurant where the Brunos and friends went after their hotel wedding reception showed Bruno having trouble standing up and stumbling about 1:45 a.m., according to the case file.

Stephanie Bruno told police that her husband was “somewhat intoxicated” because he had been drinking in celebration of their wedding.

“He wasn’t slurring his words or falling over,” she told police.

The case file shows surveillance video and cell phone video capturing the confrontation. Jason Reinhard and Janzen witnessed the actual events and Reinhard’s cell phone video was provided to police.

“That’s a very aggressive stance that the cop is taking,” Reinhard said as Hubbard rolls Bruno from face down to about halfway on his side as he attempts to cuff him.

The video captures the verbal exchange between the two men and the moments the arrest turned from routine to the two wrestling during the arrest.

“Don’t fight the cop,” Reinhard yells at Bruno.

As the two roll around, Bruno pins Hubbard to the ground and holds his head down against the ground while punching his face repeatedly.

At that point, Hubbard fires the shots, causing exclamations from the couple watching the events unfold. Janzen is a critical care nurse at a trauma unit, and she did CPR on Bruno as a bloody Hubbard put compression on his wounds.

Janzen said Bruno tried to talk, and she believes Bruno said, “Don’t let me die.” She told police that she believed Hubbard had no choice but to fire his weapon after he had his head repeatedly smashed against the concrete sidewalk.

“I did not see any other circumstance than to shoot him. I mean he has to do something because he was going to get a head bleed from the traumatic brain injury,” she said. “And since I am a nurse and I saw the officer’s head getting smashed against the cement, he was definitely going to get a subdural hematoma.”

She said Hubbard didn’t know that Bruno was a firefighter, and she said Bruno went into a defensive mode.

“I think it’s just, you know … not really anybody’s fault. It is a situation that went wrong,” Janzen said. “He had his head beaten against the cement and he had no other alternative than to react by shooting the guy and it’s just a horrible kind of tragedy for both of them.”

She said she wishes she could have changed the circumstances, but she said she didn’t want to get in Hubbard’s way. She said she did her best as a nurse to save Bruno’s life.

“I did everything I could,” she said, adding she hopes it gives his family peace.

Two off-duty firefighters from Nebraska heard the gunshots and they ran to give assistance. One of the off-duty firefighters took over from the woman and was giving CPR until an officer pulled him off Bruno and “frisked” the off-duty firefighter, according to the man’s statement.

Responding officers quickly determined an off-duty officer was involved and asked to have superiors alerted while ordering two ambulances to the scene.

After calling 911, the nurse’s friend began to continue to record the response on his cell phone. One of the first responding officers told Reinhard that his recordings were evidence and he should stop recording.

“He then stated to me something to the effect of, ‘What I have can be used against the officer.’ After he stated that to me, I then grabbed his cell phone out of his hand, closed his case on the cell phone and then placed it on the hood of my police car because I believed that it contained evidence of what occurred,” Officer Jacob M. Moore said.

Reinhard told police that he initially began recording because he felt that the officer was using aggressive and unnecessary force. He said he thought it would become a legal matter and “cameras are the ultimate accountability.”

He said he reviewed his video with Bruno’s family, including parents. He said Bruno’s family were grateful he took the video and had relief. He said they share his thoughts that Bruno did not initiate the situation.

Reinhard said he believes Bruno was cooperating and only fought back in reaction to a blow to the head.

“I saw a man who wasn’t really resisting and I saw a cop use a lot of force that caused injury. He dropped a knee on the victim’s head, and at that point the victim started fighting back and that is when shots were fired,” Reinhard said. “I think the cop got himself into a situation that he shouldn’t have been in and wasn’t prepared to deal with and then had to escape it in a means in which someone lost their life. And I don’t think anyone had to die in that situation.”

He said he has few regrets about his actions, and is glad he could provide an account of what happened.

Hubbard submitted a three-page written statement on Dec. 11.

He said he pleaded with Reinhard and the nurse to call for help since he was alone battling Bruno.

Hubbard said Bruno got him in “an extremely vulnerable position,” and he was hit in the face so many times that he began to black out.

“He continued to strike me and I started to lose consciousness and I believed the suspect was not going to stop hitting me until he killed me,” Hubbard said. “I feared for my life and I drew my weapon, fired two shots center mass, I believe on his left side, because he was on top of me,” he said.

Hubbard said after firing his weapon he reholstered it and then blacked out for a few moments.

In her statement, Stephanie Bruno, who was still wearing her wedding dress as the tragedy unfolded, said her husband hit the taxi driver after the driver flung the $20 for a fare back in her face and called her a noun commonly used in the most derogatory of circumstances to refer to a woman’s anatomy.

The taxi driver said Anthony Bruno hit him without mercy and he felt like Bruno wanted to kill him. He said he believed Stephanie Bruno told her husband to run when those who watched the altercation said the police were on their way.

Anthony Bruno was rushed to the hospital where he would be pronounced dead within an hour of the shooting. Fire Chief Paul Berardi was at the hospital and identified the body.

By DeAnn Smith

32 comments

  • ByeByeToTheRite

    Sometimes a story like this, it’s like, gee, who do you blame?

    But in this case, obviously the firefighter was just a big arrogant loser and unfortunately picked on the wrong person to show off his jerkness – an office of the law. And he should know better.

    So why any doubt about the taser? I mean, if it’s okay for Zimmerman to kill somebody because they refused to be assaulted by him, then it’s certainly okay for a cop to kill some hick firefighter trying to beat him up just over a routine arrest. For a change, it looks like someone got what they deserved.

    Doesn’t happen much in America there days, you know.

    • Travis

      You sure do talk a big game to a man that is deceased! For all we know this firefighter could have saved many lives while he has been on duty and here you are calling him a loser and a hick! He obviously made a mistake and it was probably elevated by the alcohol he had in his system but it’s unfortunate that it ended with someone’s life being taken! I’m not saying I agree or disagree with what happened but just know that if I were a fire fighter In your city and your so called expensive house in your fancy neighborhood caught on fire this hick firefighter would have to refuse to go on that call! I’m just wondering what makes a fire fighter from Kansas City a hick! I’m from a very small community and would have considered him a city folk!

  • Sharon

    We don’t know what happen before he started his video and I’m wondering why they did not call police to help out. Instead they just kept video tapping. I don’t feel the officer was wrong when trying to hand diff him. He clearly was resisting arrest, all he had to do is lay there put his hand behind his back to be cuffed. I am praying for for all involved, I never want to see anyone loose their life. Such a very sad tragedy.

  • Love Jokes

    Is it always necessary to KILL someone? No taser issued but a GUN is issued? Makes no sense but this whole ordeal was unfortunate for both parties.

    • Austin Range

      Did you even read the story? Tasers are issued by the department for on duty use, the officer was not on duty and therefore not carrying a taser and the security job did not provide one so he only had the gun, the only way he would have had a taser is if he bought one and brought it to work on his own, even then the security job may have not allowed it out of liability.

    • Dale Lyle

      Read the story more closely why don’t you. He was off duty is why he wasn’t issued a taser. Cops don’t turn their guns in at the end of the day.

  • Cit Riverview

    The Firefighter “Was” an Idiot. I’ve always was taught to pick your battles. Frighting with a cop in the street you have a looser. You have him on tape if he the cop does something wrong, you have him.

  • McGruff the Firedog

    If the drunk @ss firefighter would have complied with the Police Officer, not resisted arrest, and not tried to murder the Police Officer he would be alive today bragging about how many foundations he has saved.

  • just a voice

    This whole thing is just messed up…For one a man lost his life and has family (probably his wife) reading all these responses lets have some feelings people and not post rude comments about the man she loved and lost. What I seen in this video was an officer using to much force and yes a firefighter who started to fight back then I seen the officer unsnap his weapon even before the firefighter started fighting hard maybe the firefighter seen that too and feared for his life. This is a horrible tragedy that should have/could have been prevented.

  • how many billets dies take to stop a drunk? 2

    The fact the man was a firefighter has no bearing on this incident. A citizen assaulted a officer of the law with deadly force. Equal force was used to stop the attack.

    The mere fact he was a firefighter is disgusting. Some who would act this way especially towards a police officer. He should be stripped of his status and removed from his “fireman” status.

    This altercation was started by an assault on cab driver and ended with a drunken hard @ss in a pine box.

    Case closed.

  • Beckie

    I guess u guys are blind cause let some guy call me a c**t n my man not stand up for me, n OFF DUTY cop n a SECURITY GUARD uniform I didn’t hear either of them identified themselves as a police or firefighter? If some guy a “security guard” did this in front of me my first reaction would be call the police WHILE someone else is recording, just wow..

    • Austin Range

      He was in his normal police uniform so by all means he should have been visually identified as a police officer, it is quite common for cops working security to keep their uniform on, if allowed by their department, due to the increased degree of authority it represents and by all means he can perform police duties when off the clock. Now if you are going to under pay a taxi driver and he insults you then you deserve it which is likely what happened here but of course you would favor just punching the person in the face when you tried to not pay fully and potentially facing a felony charge, real smart.

  • Kristen

    It amazes how some of u r only taking so much from this story he was n off duty police officer therefore he shouldnt have done shit and i hope that they can proove that he was the aggressor and he gets wat he deserves cuz some of yalls comments r just rude and nasty so everybody deserves to die wen they have had to much to drink and to top it off their so called friends did even help him jump in separate them do something o but no ill just stand here while my friend is drunk and getting the shit beat out of me and im gunna stand here and video tape it….wow people amaze me…..

    • MVF

      Wow! You have made some big leaps and generalizations in this statement. No, not every drunk deserves to be shot. However, someone who is actively assaulting someone, and potentially killing someone with their bare hands may have made the choice impossibly simple. Turn the tables, how would you respond if this drunk man killed the Police Officer with his bare hands because the Officer was afraid that people would speak like you just did. It is likely that would have happened had he not acted. My guess is you wouldn’t be supporting the dead Police Officer who had a right to protect himself. And I challenge anyone to try and make this split second life altering decision while your head is being bashed in by someone over powering you. May not be as black and white as you make it seem. And while I do not blame intoxicated buddy for filming, when he saw his friend beating up a Cop… He could have handed off said camera to new wife and pulled his buddy off the Cop, he chose to watch and film it unfold. Hmm… Perhaps friends was too afraid of his buddy? Just a thought.

    • how many billets dies take to stop a drunk? 2

      Police officers are never off duty. They may punch the clock at the end of a shift, but they are still officers of the law, which they uphold. Your point has no merit. Pleae keep your ignorant mouth shut.

  • Aaron Rtqleight

    This “officer” is a complete scumbag. He was off-duty, which made him a citizen at the time this went down. If he had any semblance of manhood, he’d take his licks and fight back until the altercation was over. What’s more, Bruno was drunk. Shouldn’t have been too hard to subdue him. But this poor excuse for an officer of the law spent more time training to shoot than to fight like a man. So, in fear of getting a bloody nose/a few bumps and bruises, he ended the life of his opponent. May he rot in hell.

    • MVF

      Let me break this down for those who obviously do not know a Police Officer, do not respect the profession, or in general are ignorant to what is a basic general rule for Police Officers who literally put their life on the line for complete strangers everyday. The job of a Police Officer does not stop the second they are out of uniform. In fact, they are required, LET ME REPEAT THAT REQUIRED, to carry an off duty weapon at all times (except in a circumstance where alcohol is involved, I.e. sporting events, bars, etc). They are expected to act, and make an oath to act in any situation whether in uniform or not. I suggest you read the news article prior to watching the video. This man, drunk or not, firefighter or not, had already assaulted another person prior to coming into contact with the Officer. He had already shown signs of aggression, he was not listening to the commands of the officer which are difficult to hear over the intoxicated friend filming, and he was actively resisting arrest. Those are all reasons for a use of force. Then this man uses his strength to best the UNIFORMED Police Officer and began to pummel the Officer in the head while knocking the Officer’s face repeatedly into the ground. This is a perfect example of the right to use deadly force because deadly force is being used against the officer. If you think it is impossible to kill a human being by bashing their head against concrete please think again, and read the nurse’s estimation of what she witnessed. This Officer was right in taking the action he did. He may have made an oath to protect society, be he has a right to go home at the end of his shift. He has a right not to be harmed. An Officer of the Law is not a robot who drones to and from work with no emotions, no loved ones, and no life. How unfortunate that we have so many who responded to this with hated and disgust to a man who was not only doing his job, but saving his own life while those who could have helped sat by and watched, and allowed this to happen. And this Officer, while is probably glad he lived through this ordeal, will have to live with the fact he killed another man…even if it was right, it does not make it any easier. Shame on those so easily swayed to hate a Police Officer simply because you don’t get it. Perhaps, you should take a walk in an Officer’s shoes someday and see what their life is like. You may find it remarkably like your own, except he or she put their lives on the line every day. Think on that before you speak about things of which you don’t know.

  • Arm Chair Quarterbacks have a lot they should consider before passing judgement !

    I love all of these arm chair quarterbacks who have never done the job and have no clue what they are taking about. I would love to see those folks try and arrest somebody who does not want to be arrested, is drunk, belligerent, and actively fighting you. While at the same time having to watch your back for other attackers, protect the public, protect your weapon, follow the use of force policy which dictates what you can’t do, worry about getting sued, worry about bystanders videoing you and misrepresenting your actions and situation, and especially worrying about not hurting the drunk @ss fireman. Then when things go bad you have to remember while fighting for your life and the love of your family to follow the department use of force policy while you are being savagely attacked and the suspect is trying to kill you, you have to decide just how long you can stay in the fight and how much punishment you can absorb before losing consciousness, because of you do you can’t protect your weapon. Because if a bad guy is willing to seriously assault a cop and try and murder a cop then it’s reasonable to expect he is capable of taking your duty weapon and killing others or other cops. God forbid you violate a department policy while you are fighting for your life and fighting to see your wife and kids just one more time. All of those things go through officers minds each and every call for service, traffic stops, arrests, domestic violence calls, and resisting arrests.

    So take a minute and realize what the officer is going through, thinking about, and worrying about before you make some stupid comment about an aggressive stance and giggle like a bunch of school girls. Every encounter is a potential life and death situation for a police officer. … even a drunk bridegroom. We had a drunk on crutches pull a knife on my partner and me which needles to say we didn’t expect. That started as he was urinating between two cars. And we had two officers shot when they stopped to advise a guy who was sitting at a bus stop that the bus wasn’t coming by till morning. Without a word he stood up and shot the first officer in the face and the second in the chest while at point blank range. both of those incidents began as what the naive would refer to as a “routine call”. Nothing is ever routine and those who think that simply have not seen the ugly side of life or what people are capable of doing to each other.

    Nobody holds up a sign warning you they intend to hurt you. …sh*t just suddenly goes wrong. So get your @ss out of the arm chair, go through the academy, and show the rest of us how much better you could have handled the situation. If you have the courage.

  • nolongernieve

    Love Jokes,
    Police officers are licensed to carry their fire arms at almost all times, especially working security. Unless they are in a bar drinking or in a situation where it is not allowed.

    John,
    They are trained in hand to hand combat, sometimes the suspect is just bigger and stronger. Have you NEVER had your butt whooped by someone stronger than you? If not…….good for you, go to the academy and become an officer. I am sure they would love to have someone as perfect as you!

  • nolongernieve

    Apparently my first comment in defense of the police officer didn’t pass the test, since it didn’t get posted! Tried to post it a second time and got a message back that I already said that.

    Talk about sensoring. Was not anything innapropriate.

  • H L Tinsley

    I am the mother of both groups being discussed. This makes me sick..I have one, (through the police academy) the other a fireman….How dare U be so blind as to what they go through,They have families,,children same as U…..

  • mike drennan

    shit happens when you get violent dude was on his way to other violence he already punched the cab driver cause they didnt want to pay fare who else was this out of control drunk gonna hurt people need to realize when you become accomplished mma fighter you are a weapon therefore when you attack a person deadly force can and will be used against you

  • Dave

    What I don’t get is if there were so many of these people standing around watching and video taping this WHY didn’t someone step in and defuse the situation ??? Especially after the officer was down on the ground, and if the statement that he was a MMA fighter… that lends all the credence to justify the shooting.

Comments are closed.