Clinton says farewell to officer Gary Michael - KCTV5


Clinton says farewell to officer Gary Michael

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The small, heartbroken town of Clinton has said their final farewells to officer Gary Michael who paid the ultimate sacrifice. (KCTV5) The small, heartbroken town of Clinton has said their final farewells to officer Gary Michael who paid the ultimate sacrifice. (KCTV5)

The small, heartbroken town of Clinton has said their final farewells to officer Gary Michael who paid the ultimate sacrifice.

To watch video of the funeral, click here or scroll down.

To watch the funeral procession, click here or scroll down.

Michael, 37, was fatally shot Sunday during a traffic stop in Clinton, about 70 miles southeast of Kansas City.  He was the first officer killed in the line of duty in the city of about 9,000 residents.

A public visitation was held from 6-9 p.m. Friday at Vansant-Mills Funeral Home.

The funeral director said that they expected a large crowd and lines were very long. There was an overflow of people and many law enforcement officers from across the state, Leawood, and St. Charles showed up to pay their respects.

Michael's funeral was on Saturday at 11 a.m. at the Benson Convention Center, with a public viewing starting at 9 a.m. before the service.

Organizers expected about 1500 people to attend the service, using the center's gym as an overflow area.

The streets of Clinton were lined with motorcycles. All of them were there to show support for Officer Michael's loved ones and other officers. Motorcycle clubs helped hold American flags before the funeral started. Some came from as far away as Iowa.

For one club, coming to the funeral was very personal. 

"This is one of our missions," Harry Schwarz said. "We were supposed to go on another ride today, but this is our mission solely." "We all walk that thin blue line," he added. "Some of us still walk it."

The club is made up of retired and active members of law enforcement who made the trip to Clinton from Kansas City. 

It's a group of men and women who know from experience what it's like to walk the thin blue line. 

"You walk that line everyday, you know," Schwarz said. "You walk out your door and you go to work. My wife and kids wonder if daddy is coming home today. "

Schwarz said law enforcement deserves support and that he saw that support on Saturday.

Organizers say local churches donated hundreds of folding chairs because they just didn't have enough. 

Michael joined the police department less than a year ago after serving in the military. He was a father to three children and recently married his wife.

His family said he loved to serve his community and had dreamed about becoming an officer. 

During a candlelight vigil Wednesday evening, Michael's wife, Cindy Michael, said her family has grown by the hundreds.

She said every condolence, well-wish and seeing the community come out to honor her husband is helping her during this difficult time.

"I wanted to thank everybody for being here and supporting us. It's overwhelming support,” she said.

The mayor of Appleton City says Michael served as a police officer there for a short time before returning home to Clinton. "I just felt like it was such a waste because he was just such a special person and I knew he had recently married you know," Appleton City Mayor Karol Stephan said. "It’s just so sad.”

Governor Eric Greitens has ordered that U.S. and Missouri flags at state buildings be flown at half-staff on Saturday to honor Michael. For Henry County, flags have additionally been ordered to be at half-staff from Aug. 13 through Aug. 19.

“Officer Michael’s family and his department still grieve, and the entire state of Missouri joins them in their grief,” Greitens said.

The suspect in the killing, 39-year-old Ian McCarthy of Clinton, was captured Tuesday night. His arrest ended a manhunt that began after the shooting.

McCarthy is charged with first-degree murder. He's being held at the Henry County jail. A second man has been charged in connection with the officer's death. William Noble faces a charge of tampering with evidence in felony prosecution and is accused of giving McCarthy the gun and then hiding it. Their first court appearances were on Friday.

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Business owners in the square are showing their support for the Michael family with proudly displayed flags and a thin blue line across their storefronts as a symbol of solidarity.

Ed Weston, whose son owns a paint store in town, was working when he got an odd request from a customer.

“He goes, 'I just need five-feet of blue tape,' and I thought it was kind of an odd request. He told me what he was going to do ... he was going to put it across the back of his pickup," Weston said.

Weston says he liked the idea so much he decided to do the same but to his storefront, and he didn’t stop there.

"I started asking some of the other store owners, 'Can I put some on your door?' And by all means, they were all, 'Yes, please do so,'" Weston said.

Meanwhile, organizers with Thin Blue Line USA say they’ve already raised more than $4,000 selling bracelets in honor of Gary Michael. They’re $5 and the money will go toward the National Law Enforcement Officer’s Memorial Fund or a charity his family chooses.

His family has established a scholarship fund in his name.

According to the Clinton Police Department, a Gary Michael Memorial Trust Fund has been set up at U.S. Bank. "You may make donations directly to any US Bank into this trust," the department said. "Our Department once again would like to thank everyone for all the love and support shown to this department and Officer Michael's family."

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