Law enforcement personnel are still trying to figure out how police were dispatched to the wrong address in what resulted in an officer’s death.
Clinton Police Officer Christopher Ryan Morton was killed when he and two other officers responded to a residence inside the city when the actual 9-1-1 call pertaining to screaming women came from 15 miles away in Windsor, Missouri.
Upon arriving at the wrong address, officers encountered occupant Tammy Widger, who advised there was not a problem and there wasn’t anybody else in the residence.
After confirming the address with emergency dispatchers, officers entered the house where they were fired upon by the suspect, James Waters.
According to State Highway Patrol Sgt. Bill Lowe, they had to enter the home because they thought they were responding to a disturbance.
Waters who was being investigated for rape injured the two other officers with gunfire. He was found dead in a bathroom at the home over two hours later by a SWAT team. It’s not known if he died from officer gunshots or from self-inflicted wounds.
KSHB reports Waters had a lengthy criminal record with numerous felony arrests and spent several years in jail or prison. As a convicted felon, he wasn’t supposed to be in possession of firearms.
Multiple weapons were found inside the residence. Occupant Tammy Widger was arrested on unrelated charges of methamphetamine.
According to a news release from the Missouri State Highway Patrol, the original 9-1-1 call consisted of two women shouting in the background away from the phone receiver with no one speaking directly to the 9-1-1 dispatcher.
With nobody able to relay a location, officers were dispatched to the address attached to the 9-1-1 call, which is where they encountered Waters who shot and killed Morton.
The two other officers are recovering from non-life-threatening injuries. Officer Nathan Bettencourt went through surgery at a Kansas City area hospital and is in stable condition. Officer Nicholas Kasper was treated released from a hospital.
Morton, who was a reserve member of the Clinton Police force, came back in a full-time capacity to fill the spot left by Officer Gary Michael, who was shot and killed last August.
In scanner communications captured by Broadcastify, Morton told dispatchers he was in a back room of the residence and had been hit multiple times in the arm, legs, head, and vest. He failed to respond to further communications from dispatchers.
The 30-year-old Morton was praised by Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler for his service with the Army National Guard before returning home to be a police officer.
TRIBUTE TO CLINTON OFFICER
There’s a brewery called Blue Blood Brewing in Lincoln, Nebraska founded by a former Lincoln Police Officer that has paid tribute to Morton.
Every time a police officer falls in the line of duty across the country, a chair at the bar is reserved and a beer set out for the officer along with a personal bio.
The beer is called Last Call, in honor of those police officers.
Missourinet media partners KOLR-TV and KDKD radio contributed to this story