Video captures newlywed firefighter’s fatal fight with police officer

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Anthony Bruno, Donald Hubbard

Anthony Bruno, Donald Hubbard

KANSAS CITY  — 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.

WARNING: This video shows the end of the confrontation, including the moment Hubbard fires his gun.

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.

Surveillance captured the moment Anthony Bruno ran into off-duty officer, Donald Hubbard, who was working security on the night in question.

“I saw what appeared to be a police officer, a man in uniform struggling with a man in a suit and that’s really all I knew at the time,” Jason Reinhard told WDAF.

Reinhard pulled out his cell phone to record the altercation. Standing next to him, trauma nurse Ashley Janzen. Video shows the officer trying to detain Bruno, who appears to resist and quickly gets the upper hand. Blows are thrown and according to court documents, the officer feared for his life.

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.

Source: KCTV/CNN and WDAF

42 comments

    • Kajarvis L. Moore

      I AM TRULY DISGUSTED BY THE COMMENTS ABOUT TRAYVON MARTIN BEING USED IN THIS MANS DEATH. HOW DARE YOU GUYS BRING UP THAT CHILDS DEATH SUCH A CRUEL WAY. THE OFFICER DID PROTECT HIMSELF HOWEVER THE GUY DIDN’T HAVE TO BE USED. WHILE THE FOLKS VIDEO RECORDING THE WHOLE THING THEY SHOULDVE BEEN CALLING THE POLICE SO THE OFFICER COULD’VE HAD BACKUP. HOWEVER, WE DON’T KNOW WHO STARTED THE ALTERCATION BUT AT THE END OF THE DAY ONE PERSON WILL BE QUESTIONED WHILE ANOTHER ONE MAY REST IN PEACE! #RIP #STOPTHEVIOLENCE

      • Jameson

        the hell with that cop and that little jiggaboo Trayvon, truth be known, the officer was probably a trigger happy pussy that couldn’t fight, and Trayvon, well they don’t no one give a shit about him anyways

    • Fooey

      NONE OF THIS would’ve ever happened if the firefighter wasnt out in public intoxicated in the first place. When you choose to drink or do drugs, poor decisions are made and bad things happen.
      He should’ve been at home spending time alone with his new wife, like most newlyweds do on their wedding night, instead of out partying, getting drunk and obviously violent.

      • haveaheart

        I don’t know if any of you had to watch an advertisement before the actual news clip but I did. The ad was about a bank loaning money to a start up beer brewing company. Kind of sends the wrong message before a news report pertaining to a alcohol related death. The only thing I am going to say about the incident is why weren’t all the people standing around trying to help stop the altercation?

      • Triple Aught

        Git over yourself, they had the right to spend their wedding night however they wanted too without being shot by some moonlighting cop. Nobody said he was doing any drugs. You inserted that, and you did it to a man who is now dead and cannot refute your comment.
        And by the way, we all know that cabbies Never overcharge people…

    • JT

      Not even close, Fred–Zimmerman was a wanna-be cop (neighborhood watch captain) with NO law enforcement experience/authority who willfully tracked a young man, started an altercation he knew he would lose in order to “lawfully” kill a black kid. This was an legitimate, experienced cop responding to a lawful call, not a vigilante with no reason or probable cause. Your analogy isn’t even close to being parallel.

      • Jameson

        he was not responding to a legitimate call, he was off duty working security, he should have called the onduty cops and let them do their job instead of starting shit

  • b

    The fire fighter knew the officer was an officer so why would it have made a difference if the officer had known that the firefighter was a firefighter? It was clearly the firefighters fault from running away from the officer and then trying to kill the officer.

  • Richard

    Maybe instead of standing there with the stupid smartphone recording everything, the witnesses/friends should assist the cop in pinning this drunk idiot down. He would be alive today if they did.

  • Stephen

    Very similar to the Trayvon Martin case. Now we can see what George Zimmerman went through before he had no choice, but to defend his life!

  • yupyup

    .This guy deserved to be shot. but that was a good c but that was a good call by the police officer. One less cocky thug on the street.

  • Steve Welborn

    Excessive force caused this death…plain and simple. The officer used too much force. The video clearly shows this. Victim’s family should sue. This man should not have died. We must stop excessive force, and cause pain to cities to take action.

      • Triple Aught

        Oh Really?
        Even after you had not bothered to hear his side of it, and then thrown him down and slammed his head to the concrete using your knee?
        So therefore you would have shot him because you have a badge and a gun and he was unarmed?
        I hope that cop has to see that guys face everyday for the rest of his natural life.

  • Non of your business

    This cop should be held accountable. How about let the family of the victim shoot this officer twice in the chest, see how he likes it.

  • sinnerfrank

    The new bride should have been able to settle the guy down,the ONE time he should have listened To her,he choose not to,Drunks are hard to reason with !! Hope the new widow was on his insurance !!

  • j

    A thug? He was a firefighter! He saved people’s lives on a daily basis. The cop was a little too rough , the firefighter was intoxicated and already angry that the taxicab driver insulted his wife….so I see how he got mad when the officer used excessive force.No, he shouldn’t have beat his @$$ but the offiver maybe shouldn’t have been so cocky while arresting him.

  • Carol

    Seems the firefighter was drunk and violent. Hit cab driver and bride said run. Cop pursued him and he resisted arrest which didnt look like cop was using enough force being body slammed to ground. Firefighter should have known better than to resist arrest. Then to beat the cops head and face. The only thing he could do was shoot him. He would have killed the cop if not stopped.

  • mikeB

    I’m sorry if u fight wit a cop ur fuckin stupid no matter if ur a firefighter or not he felt n danger of his life so he defended it anybody else would do the same.!!

  • its my business

    I’m not really sure how all this works and I may have read it wrong. But the Kansas City police officer still had a loaded gun and was off-duty at the time, no taser, right? The way I read it, he couldn’t have a taser because he was off duty. Now I am a civilian and I can carry pepper spray. Did we try that?

    How is it that he was right there when the cab altercation happened? I’m going to have to go back and read this again. Kansas City police officer stated that he was blacking in and out as he was being punched. He must have had enough cognisance if he was able to pull a holstered gun with his right hand, shoot twice and re-holster. I will say one thing, if I were the Bride, I would have been right in the middle of it with my Cheerleader mouth making my newlywed husband chill and getting that poice officer and him away from each other. We love our Fire Department personnel and we love out police officers. I hope this doesn’t turn into a Kansas City police department versus the Kansas City Fire Department debacle. This such a tragedy for the wedding couple and their families. And it all started over a $20 cab fare.

  • Steve

    Okay, here’s a clue. When a Police Officer requests assistance, you jump in an assist him. In most States, when an officer requests help, you are instantly deputised for the remainder of the incident. That this guy didn’t put his phone down and help is reprehensible. This didn’t have to happen, and a little help would have allowed the officer to gain control of the situation.

  • Jameson

    this cop was way to excessive, he only got hit 2 or 3 times, then he shot him, he cop is a coward and didn’t want to fight so he figured he’d kill the guy, the cop wasn’t even on duty so he should have called one that was.cops think they are above everyone else just because they have a badge, and they carry a gun hoping one day they get to use it, shooting someone unarmed should put im in prison just like the other criminals, he shot his because the other guy got a little bit of an upperhand, all he had to do was fight a little better. That cos a coward

  • John Smith

    Yea, every since 9/11 we have placed firefighters on a pedestal. Triple their pensions and bankrupt the country…..whatever. Most are so fat

  • John Smith

    Post 9/11 firefighters, even while most are far too fat to run up steps, are on a pension pedestal that is making the rest of the community very poor in efforts to sustain those benefits. So they get drunk and want to fight? Well if this dude had been a young black male then Facebook would have lit up with the “THUG” commentary.

    Looks to me like a while boy fireman is nothing but a THUG too.

Comments are closed.

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