Three Clinton, Missouri police officers were shot, one fatally, after being sent to the wrong address when responding to a frantic 911 call.
James Waters has been identified as the man who shot the three responding officers.
The officers were responding to a 911 call made by two women whose screams were described as “frantic.” The 911 dispatch center apparently made a mistake and sent the officers to the wrong city, according to authorities.
Officers arrived at the home of Waters approximately five minutes after the call came through.
The three officers were subsequently shot by Waters and began to engage the man.
Waters was found deceased after barricading himself inside of the residence, according to police. Waters’ cause and manner of death was not known at the time of publishing.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Authorities Were Responding to the Wrong Address When Waters Opened Fire
At approximately 9:20 p.m. on March 6, the Clinton County 911 call center received a call with two women frantically screaming in the background, Missouri State Highway Patrol Sgt. Bill Lowe told reporters at a news conference. When Morton and two other officers responded to the call, they were met with gunfire at the Waters’ residence. Lowe stated early Wednesday morning:
At some point in time in that interaction they [police officers] were shot at by the suspect from inside the residence. After doing so the officers engaged with the suspect. They ended up going inside the residence to attempt to apprehend the suspect, and at that point in time the suspect shot and killed one of the Clinton police officers and wounded two other officers. After getting those officers out from the residence, they were transported to the hospital and treated for their injuries.
The 911 dispatch center apparently made a mistake and sent the officers to the wrong city, Lowe said, adding that the two women in the 911 call were not connected with the Clinton residence.
The officers were supposed to have been sent to an address in Windsor, which is about 25 miles from where the call originated.
“It is a coincidence they were called to that specific address,” Lowe said. “It is tragic that happened. But the fact is they were in the act of committing crimes within that house. When (the officers) entered that house they were doing what they needed to ensure no one was hurt.”
The apparent mistake is being investigated, said Lowe at a 5 p.m. press conference Wednesday.
2. He Served With the Clinton Police Department From 2015 to January 2017
Morton was shot and killed when he and two other officers responded to a 911 call at a home located 75 miles outside of Kansas City, Missouri State Highway Patrol stated. According authorities, Morton had been with the Clinton Police Department from February 2015 to January 2017.
He continued to serve with the department as a reserve officer and returned to full-time duty after fellow Clinton Police Officer Gary Michael was killed in the line of duty during a traffic stop in August.
3.He Was Honored for His Military Service by the Kansas City Royals & Friends Described Him as a Loving, Kind Person
Morton joined the Army in November 2005 and was deployed twice, returning in May 2014 from Afghanistan, where he served as a bridge crew member and radio communications manager, The Kansas City Star reported.
The officer was honored for his military service by the Kansas City Royals in June 2014, as shown in the above photo.
Friends described Morton as an officer and friend who had a big heart, and who was always willing to help others.
“Idk what to say right now,” Justin McCoy posted to Facebook. “I’m heartbroken. I just woke up to news that one of my lifelong friends was shot in the line of duty last night. Christopher Ryan Morton was an amazing person with a huge heart. Always in a great mood and would do anything for anyone. You will truly be missed my friend.”
“I am at a loss for words right now,” Brittany Seabaugh stated. “Christopher Ryan Morton was one of the nicest guys I have ever had the pleasure of knowing. Always could count on him to be there to talk when you needed it. Please keep his family and friends in your thoughts and prayers.”
“Idk what to say right now,” Justin McCoy wrote. “I’m heartbroken. I just woke up to news that one of my lifelong friends was shot in the line of duty last night. Christopher Ryan Morton was an amazing person with a huge heart. Always in a great mood and would do anything for anyone. You will truly be missed my friend.”
4. The Suspect Served Multiple Stints in Prison
According to court documents, Waters has had multiple run-ins with police and served several stints in prison.
He was convicted of crimes including robbery in 1999, drug possession in 2009 and the latest charge of resisting arrest in 2013.
In November 2017, Waters was arrested for unlawful possession of a firearm and possession of a controlled substance.
5. Clinton Officer Gary Michael Was Shot & Killed During a Traffic Stop Exactly 7 Months Before the Tragedy
Lowe stated at a press conference that “seven months to the day” prior to Morton’s killing, another officer was killed in the line of duty.
Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty against McCarthy.