Murder charges have been brought against a woman was harboring a man shot and killed a western Missouri police officer in early March. David Lee reports from Clinton.
37-year-old Tammy Dee Widger of Clinton has been charged with felony murder in the first degree in the shooting death of Ryan Morton, a Clinton police officer killed in the line of duty on March 6th.
Widger, whose rental home was the site of the fatal shooting, had previously been charged with possession of met with the intent to distribute and with keeping or maintaining a public nuisance.
This past Friday, a preliminary hearing was held. A lot of information was presented by both sides, the defense and prosecution. Judge Wayne Strothman was presiding and took all the information provided on Friday under advisement and a decision concerning this matter could be made it about ten days.
Widger allegedly committed felony murder because Morton was shot and killed in connection with committing a class C felony of delivery of a controlled substance.
Another piece of information that was revealed on Friday is that is has been determined that James Waters, who police say shot and killed Morton, took his own life the night of March 6th.
A forensic review by the MO State Highway Patrol determined that Waters shot and killed himself that night. It was not known until this information was released by investigators whether Waters had killed himself or if he had been killed by an officers bullet.
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 Waters.
According to the State Highway, 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.
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. Widger was arrested on unrelated charges of methamphetamine at the time.
According to 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.
The two other officers suffered non-life-threatening injuries.
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 during the shootout with Waters and said he had been hit multiple times in the arm, legs, head, and vest. He failed to respond to further communications from dispatchers.
David Lee of Missourinet affiliate KDKD in Clinton provided the updated information on the charges filed in the case and the determination Waters shot and killed himself.