Suspect Accused of Murdering Missouri Police Officer Captured in Manhunt
Police surrounded a home in Chilhowee earlier Tuesday after officers descended on the small town in search of Ian McCarthy, wanted for the murder of Police Officer Gary Michael.
Michael, 37, died after McCarthy reportedly burst out of a Dodge Nitro at a traffic stop and started shooting around 10:45 p.m. Sunday, KHSB reported.
Sergeant Bill Lowe with the Missouri Highway Patrol said McCarthy, 39, was taken into custody near Bucksaw Marina.
“The incident occurred on Route U, which is just almost directly east of here about a mile south of Bucksaw Marina. He was taken into custody without incident, there was no struggle,” Sgt. Lowe said during a news conference.
The capture occurred about 6:15 p.m. Lowe says he’s thrilled that McCarthy is in custody. Nevertheless, the loss of Officer Michael is still stinging.
“Officer Michael was heroic to the end, even sustaining a fatal gunshot wound he was able to protect himself and the citizens here in Clinton. That just goes to his heroic actions and his ability to think and process things in a critical manner,” Lowe said.
McCarthy was booked on the charge of first-degree murder.
There has been a slew of more than 100 local, county and state law enforcement officers searching for McCarthy since Michael was murdered.
Investigators believe McCarthy sprang from his vehicle and opened fire on Michael before driving a short distance, crashing his vehicle and fleeing on foot.
McCarthy is also wanted in New Hampshire, where a warrant was issued in 2013 when he failed to show up for sentencing on a disorderly conduct charge, according to court records in that state. He served about four years in prison there for first-degree assault and a parole violation. He also is wanted on a warrant out of Johnson County in 2015 for unlawful possession of a firearm.
It’s speculation that his existing warrants prompted McCarthy to shoot Michael to avoid arrest, Lowe said. It’s also possible that drugs or alcohol played a role, but “it’s hard to say unless we have him here to ask,” Lowe said Tuesday afternoon before the capture.
Moments before the Missouri police officer was shot, a man identified as McCarthy was seen on surveillance video entering a Clinton convenience store and buying cigar wrappers, according to a probable cause affidavit by Sgt. Greg Martin, an investigator with the highway patrol. The footage later showed McCarthy driving away in a Dodge Nitro before a Clinton officer in an SUV activates his lights to pull over McCarthy, Martin wrote. Michael managed to give a dispatcher a description of the Nitro — registered to McCarthy — before the officer was shot, Martin wrote.
McCarthy was unarmed when he was taken into custody. Investigators still need to locate the weapon used in the shooting that killed Officer Michael.
Authorities said the fugitive suffered a gunshot injury on Sunday. They did not reveal the nature of his wound. He was taken to a Kansas City hospital for treatment.
Of note, Michael was the first police officer killed in the line of duty in Clinton, a town of about 9,000 people about 75 miles southeast of Kansas City. He was a military police officer overseas for about five years before returning to the Kansas City area. He decided in his 30s to become a police officer and served in Appleton City for a short time before joining the force in Clinton, where he was in his first year.
Survivors of the murdered Missouri police officer include his wife, three children and a grandchild. His brother, Chris Michael, told area media that Gary had always wanted to serve.
“My brother was a light to the world,” Chris Michael said. “One man’s bad decision took that light from the world. He was a husband, he was a father, he was a brother and he did all of them pretty darn good.”
(Photo: Missouri State Highway Patrol)