Foundation covers mortgage for family of fallen KCPD officer Muhlbauer

Officer James Muhlbauer and K-9 Officer Champ.
Officer James Muhlbauer and K-9 Officer Champ.(KCPD)
Published: Sep. 11, 2023 at 12:48 PM CDT
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KANSAS CITY, Mo. (KCTV) - The family of a fallen Kansas City police officer has one less thing to worry about in the coming years. The Tunnel to Towers Foundation announced it paid off the mortgage for KCPD officer James Muhlbauer.

Muhlbauer and K9 Champ died following a car crash in February while on patrol near Truman Road and Benton Boulevard.

The mortgage is one of 22 the Tunnel to Towers Foundation paid in full to honor the first responders killed in the September 11th attacks, 22 years ago. Founded after the 9/11 attacks, the Tunnel to Towers Foundation works to “do good” by providing mortgage-free homes to Gold Star families and the families of fallen first responders with young children. The foundation also builds homes for injured veterans and first responders.

Muhlbauer was a 20-year veteran of the Kansas City, Missouri, Police Department. He left behind his wife, Cassie, son Ayden, and stepdaughter Makenzie.

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“We truly appreciate what Tunnel to Towers did…it has a huge impact on our lives not to have the financial burden of a monthly mortgage. Thank you, Tunnel of Towers Foundation for all of your hard work and dedication within the foundation, and to all of those that donate to the organization,” Cassie Muhlbauer said in a statement provided by the foundation.

Jerron Allen Lightfoot, of Tonganoxie, is charged with involuntary manslaughter in Muhlbauer’s death.

According to court documents Lightfoot had been driving nearly 50 mph over the speed limit and ran a red light before hitting Muhlbauer’s patrol car. The collision also killed 52-year-old Jesse Eckes, who was walking nearby.

Lightfoot is expected to be in court again in October.

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Carrie Muhlbauer filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Lightfoot after the death of her husband. Court records show the two parties reached a settlement late last month, but the judge has not yet approved it.