Witness in deadly Clinton shooting recalls officer Gary Michael' - KCTV5

Witness in deadly Clinton shooting recalls officer Gary Michael's last moments

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Pajula and Michael had known each other before the shooting, and Levi said the officer even pulled him over a few times. (KCTV5) Pajula and Michael had known each other before the shooting, and Levi said the officer even pulled him over a few times. (KCTV5)
CLINTON, MO (KCTV) -

As the community in Clinton mourns the loss of one of the city’s finest, one witness spoke about what he saw the night of the shooting.

Missouri State Highway Patrol Sgt. Bill Lowe says Clinton police officer Gary Michael, 37, was shot after the driver of a stopped dark gray Dodge Nitro got out of the vehicle and fired a round that hit him.

Troopers say they are looking for Ian McCarthy, 39, of Clinton, as a suspect in the case.

Michael returned fire, but authorities do not know if McCarthy was hit. Michael was taken to an area hospital where he was pronounced dead.

Levi Pajula is a clerk at Clinton Convenience, located at 101 N. Second St., a gas station across the street from where Michael was shot. He says he heard the shots and ran outside to find Michael laying in the street.

“By the time you get to the door, you hear multiple gunshots, you hear one and then back-to-back consecutive ones,” Pajula said. “You could hear a loud pop and then pop, pop and then another pop, pop.”

Surveillance video from the gas station shows McCarthy's car drive across N Second Street followed by officers Michael's police cruiser, which had it's emergency lights on. In what seems to be a moment of chaos, a customer rushes into the store to take cover, then things appear to calm down as several people gathered outside.

Pajula says he saw officers lift Michael from the street. It is something he says no one should have to endure.

“You see a fellow officer pick him up and it just wasn't anything anyone would really want to look at or have to endure,” he said.

Pajula and Michael had known each other before the shooting, and Pajula said the officer even pulled him over a few times.

“He used to come in very regularly, daily basis, you know, comes and gets coffee and stuff like that," Pajula said. “He was a great guy, always gave you a chance. I've been pulled over by him a few times. He pulled me over…for no insurance once, let me go, and caught me driving the same day later and he gave me a ticket for it."

Pajula also had interactions with McCarthy who lived down the street from him. Pajula says he walks by his house every day on his way to work. 

"He always kept to himself, letting his dogs in, letting them out” Pajula said. “Other than that, he wouldn't talk to many people. He would come grab cigars or cigarettes.”

The day after the shooting, Pajula says there was no reason for McCarthy’s actions.

“He was just doing his job like a normal person, and to be shot down in cold blood like that, for absolutely no reason,” he said.

Investigators believe McCarthy is still in the Clinton area and that he is on foot. Troopers say McCarthy is considered armed and dangerous and warns that anyone who sees him should not confront him. Anyone with information is asked to call 911.

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