The Clinton Police Department in Missouri, sadly reports the death of Officer Christopher Morton.
Officer Morton, 30, and two other officers were dispatched to an unknown 911 hang up call. The dispatcher advised that a female voice was heard screaming on an open line prior to hanging up. This seemed to indicate an assault in progress or a domestic violence of some type. One report indicated that gunshots were heard over the phone line.
As the officers arrived on scene a male subject in the residence began firing at officers with a semi automatic rifle. The officers returned fire and charged into the residence to rescue the female. The suspect continued to fire upon officers as they entered the residence striking all three men.
Morton collapsed in a bedroom and the other two officers had to rescue him while continuing to fire in the direction of the suspect.
Morton was extricated from the residence and transported to a local hospital where he succumbed to his gunshot wounds.
Officer Nathan Bettencourt is recovering at a Kansas City hospital and is in stable condition, according to the Missouri Highway Patrol. He underwent surgery on Wednesday.
Officer Nicholas Kasper was treated and released from an area hospital.
The suspect remained barricaded inside the residence for three hours until the Highway Patrol SWAT team forcibly entered the residence finding the suspect dead.
Troopers from the Missouri State Highway Patrol are investigating the incident with the assistance of the Clinton Police Department and the Henry County Sheriff’s Department.
Officer Christopher Morton joined the Clinton Police Department in February of 2015 as a full time patrol officer. He went to a reserve officer status in January of 2017. He returned to full time status in September of 2017 after Officer Gary Michael was shot and killed on a traffic stop. That shooting took place exactly seven months to the day.
Prior to Officer Morton working for the Clinton Police Department he was a Specialist with the Army National Guard and had been deployed twice to Afghanistan. He was featured in a Mother’s Day greeting video while he was in Kandahar, shared by the Defense Visual Information Distribution Service.
On June 5, 2014, the Kansas City Royals honored Morton for his military service. He joined the Army National Guard in November 2005, and at the time the Royals honored him, he had been deployed twice. At that game, Morton presented Jeremy Guthrie with a flag flown overseas during his deployment.
The Royals tweeted shortly after learning about Officer Morton’s death.
“We are saddened to hear the news regarding Clinton, Mo Police Officer Chris Morton this morning. He was honored for his military service at
#TheK in 2014. Our thoughts are with his family today,” the Royals said.
Governor Eric Greitens issued a statement:
Today, in the state of Missouri, we lost one of our police officers. He was a thirty-year old gentleman whose name was Ryan Morton. Officer Morton was a member of the Clinton Police Department, and late last night, he was shot and killed in the line of duty.
All of us can stop today and pray for him and his blessed memory. We can think about his family, and we can, for a moment, share in their grief. And these are good and right things, and we should do them.
I’d ask us to do one more thing: think of this police department and all police departments throughout our state. This fall, the Clinton Police Department lost Officer Gary Michael. I got to know the men and women of the Clinton Police Department and the community through that tragedy.
Officer Morton took Officer Michael’s post in the department. Those two warriors are together now, in the company of God, who has brought his sons home.
In a further development, investigators say the 911 call was actually from a different house than the shooting, reported KCTV5.
The home where the officers were shot was actually about 15 miles away from where the 911 call originated.
No one spoke to the dispatcher when the call came in but she heard two women screaming at each other. The number traced back to the address in Clinton.
A woman answered and said she was fine but after double checking the address with dispatch, they went inside to check on what they thought was the second woman and that’s when a man inside started firing at them.
They returned fire but all three officers were shot.
Only after the fact did investigators learn the 911 call that brought those officers here actually came from a town about 15 miles away – from someone who didn’t even know the shooter.
“This happened because of criminal activity already taking place,” Sgt. Bill Lowe of the Missouri Highway Patrol said. “Yes it is a coincidence that they were called to that specific address and it is tragic that that happened.”
Morton’s loss was shared by agencies around the country.
A Clinton PD (MO) officer was shot and killed in the line of duty earlier this morning and multiple officers have been injured. Our thoughts and prayers are with the officer’s family, friends and colleagues. We also wish a full and speedy recovery for those injured. #NeverForget pic.twitter.com/jrPuShmonl
— Chicago Police (@Chicago_Police) March 7, 2018
7 months after one of their officers was shot and killed, the Clinton, Missouri Police Department lost another officer last night when Officer Christopher Ryan Morton was shot and killed. 2 other officers also shot and injured. Keep this small town in your thoughts and prayers pic.twitter.com/b6eWMYtMtU
— LAPD HQ (@LAPDHQ) March 7, 2018
His parents and siblings survive him.
Officer Christopher Morton is gone, but will never be forgotten. EOW: Tuesday, March 6, 2017.