By HEATHER HOLLINGSWORTH, The Associated Press
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A man with an extensive criminal history shot and killed a police officer and wounded two others who were checking on a disturbance at a Missouri home, authorities said Wednesday.
Missouri Highway Patrol Sgt. Collin Stosberg said the officers went to the home in Clinton on Tuesday night in response to a 911 call in which no one was on the line but a disturbance could be heard in the background.
The patrol said shots were fired at the Clinton officers soon after they arrived at the home around 9:20 p.m. Tuesday. Clinton, with about 8,800 residents, is about 70 miles (110 kilometers) east of Kansas City.
Officer Christopher Ryan Morton, a 30-year-old who had served in the Army, was fatally shot while trying to apprehend the suspect. One of the wounded officers remained hospitalized Wednesday with moderate injuries. The other officer’s injuries were minor, the patrol said.
A SWAT team entered the home at 12:10 a.m. Wednesday and found the suspect, 37-year-old James Waters, of Clinton, dead. Stosberg said the cause of the suspect’s death is under investigation. A woman who was at the home was taken into custody.
Court records show Waters had a history of convictions for drugs and resisting arrest. He served stints in prison from October 2000 through November 2002, May 2003 through April 2008, July 2008 through October 2012 and May 2014 through last July, according to Missouri Department of Corrections spokesman Garry Brix.
Waters was charged in November in Missouri’s Cass County with unlawful possession of a firearm and drug possession, court records show. He pleaded not guilty, and the case was pending when he died.
Stosberg declined to say whether police had responded to the home in the past or what precipitated the 911 call.
Morton is the second Clinton police officer in the past year to be killed in the line of duty. In August, Officer Gary Michael was killed during a traffic stop. Ian McCarthy was arrested after a two day manhunt and has pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder in the shooting. Prosecutors are pursuing the death penalty.
Morton, who joined the Army in November 2005 and was twice deployed, returned in May 2014 from Afghanistan, where he served as a bridge crew member and radio communications manager, The Kansas City Star reported.
The patrol said Morton was a full-time Clinton officer from February 2015 through January 2017, when he temporarily became a reserve officer. He returned to full-time duty one month after Michael’s death. The patrol described Morton in a tweet as having served with “distinction.”