For the second time in seven months, the west-central Missouri town of Clinton will bury an officer killed in the line of duty. Christopher Ryan Morton, 30, was shot to death and two other officers are suffering from minor injuries while responding to a disturbance call on Tuesday night. City administrator Christy Maggi says the town of 9,000 has been hit by too much police tragedy.
“You really can’t imagine that this would ever happen to us one time, much less to have it happen to us a second time in seven months,” says Maggi. “That’s just unbelievable that would be the case.”
Last August, 37-year-old Clinton officer Gary Michael was shot to death. Morton took Michael’s position in the department.
Maggi tells Missourinet the community and its 73 full-time city employees come together during tragedy.
“We have a very close-knit group of city employees. As we learned last August, when we have tragedy in one department, it affects all of them. They want to help however they can,” says Maggi. “They were so wonderful last August to pitch in, do whatever they needed to do to help us get through that, with offers to come in early, to stay late.”
She says her employees are doing their best to handle the community’s tasks and also take time to collect their thoughts about Tuesday shooting.
“If we don’t take care of working through this process as individuals, we are not going to do a very good job in responding to the needs of the city as we work through this,” Maggi says.
Tuesday’s 911 disturbance call Morton and other officers responded to came from a location about 15 miles outside of Clinton, but police were dispatched to a Clinton address. Whether there was an operator or technical glitch or a tip called in is unknown.
When officers arrived on the scene, James Waters, 37, of Clinton had barricaded himself in the home. A transcript of scanner reports says Morton, who entered the residence, was shot several times in the arm, legs and head.
The investigation continues into whether Waters, who was found dead at the crime scene, killed himself or if he was killed by police.
Waters was recently accused of rape and had other run-ins with the law. A woman who lived at the home where the shooting happened has been arrested on an unrelated drug count.
Funeral services are pending for Morton.
Listen to Missourinet’s Alisa Nelson interview with Christy Maggi.