11:14 AM EDT, April 25, 2014
It was the happiest time of Stephanie Bruno's life when she was marrying the man of her dreams. But just moments after she and her groom left their wedding reception, disaster struck.
The groom, 26-year-old firefighter Anthony Bruno, got into a brutal fight with another man dedicated to public service—a police officer. It ended with the officer shooting him dead.
In an INSIDE EDITION exclusive, Stephanie Bruno, suddenly finding herself a widow, told us she still can't believe the tragic turn of events.
She said, “My husband was an amazing man.”
The drama unfolded at 2:00 a.m. in downtown Kansas City, Missouri as the couple left their wedding reception.
She said, “It was beautiful. It was perfect.”
Stephanie was still in her wedding dress when they got into a dispute with a cab driver over the fare.
She said, "He threw the money back in my face and called me a very offensive name."
Anthony lost his temper and hit the cab driver in the face.
INSIDE EDITION's Les Trent asked, "Was he drunk?"
“He wasn't falling over. He wasn't slurring his words,” said Stephanie.
In a hotel surveillance video, Stephanie can be seen staying behind as the groom walked away. That's when an off duty cop, Donald Hubbard, who was working security for the hotel, was called to quiet things down.
After the fight with the cabbie, Anthony Bruno came down an alleyway as the police officer was right behind him.
Another surveillance camera picked up the officer running across the street where he confronted the groom and tried to arrest him. The situation quickly escalated and they both ended up on the ground. While trying to cuff the groom, the cop dug his knee into Anthony’s head.
Then, the groom turned the tables by getting the cop on his back and started punching him in the face. Suddenly two shots ring out, fired by the cop. The groom was killed. Officer Hubbard was treated for cuts and a broken eye socket.
Trent said to Stephanie, “A lot of people looking at the video will come to the conclusion that Officer Hubbard had no recourse but to use deadly force.”
She said, “My husband didn’t have recourse. His face was broken. He was forced to defend himself.”
In addition to the myriads of security cameras that captured the drama, the one camera that was closest was a cell phone camera held by a bystander.
Jason Reinhard and Ashley Janzen were returning from a club when they came upon the scene. Ashley, a trauma nurse, showed us how she helped give the groom CPR.
She said, “It's sad. It was a tragedy.”
The video was so explosive, the case went before a Grand Jury which cleared Officer Edward Hubbard of any wrong doing.
Trent asked Stephanie, “When you hear that ruling, what was your reaction?”
She tearfully said, “Disappointment.”
According to the police report, Officer Hubbard said he feared for his life.
Trent spoke to Stephanie's attorney Ken McClain. Trent said, 'He [officer] said, "I believe the suspect was not going to stop hitting me until he killed me.'"
McClain said, "Anthony could have made the same statement, 'I did not think the officer was going to stop until he killed me.'"
Stephanie, herself an attorney, is haunted by her husband's last words as he tried to reason with the officer, which were, “Be nice, that's all I’m asking.”
Stephanie tearfully told INSIDE EDITION, “Why can't you not be nice. If that's resistance we're all in trouble.”
Now, the bride is struggling to make sense of how her wedding celebration, which began with so much joy, ended with her becoming a widow.
The toxicology report showed the firefighter's blood alcohol level was three times the legal limit. It’s not known if that played a role in the Grand Jury's decision.