'Stay with us, Morton': Dispatch audio paints scene as Clinton o - KCTV5 News

'Stay with us, Morton': Dispatch audio paints scene as Clinton officer killed responding to 911 call

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Officer Christopher Ryan Morton, a 30-year-old who had served in the Army, was fatally shot while trying to apprehend the suspect. (Missouri State Highway Patrol) Officer Christopher Ryan Morton, a 30-year-old who had served in the Army, was fatally shot while trying to apprehend the suspect. (Missouri State Highway Patrol)
CLINTON, MO (KCTV) -

The dispatch audio from Tuesday night in Clinton is very difficult to listen to and is a powerful reminder of the dangers police officers face when they swear to serve and protect.

Missouri Highway Patrol Sgt. Collin Stosberg said the officers went to the home in Clinton 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 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. The other two officers were treated at a hospital. 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 but 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.

Editor's Note: The following KCTV5 News transcriptions of dispatch recordings below contain material that some readers may find objectionable.

"Disturbance at 306 Grand River. Two females involved in a disturbance."

"One of the subjects involved may be Tammy Widger.”

“We could hear two females arguing. We couldn’t hear what they were saying.”

“Shot fired.”

“We’ve got one officer hit in the arm.”

A tone out over the radio, then: “Officer with gunshot wound.”

“19 (Morton), where you at?”

“(Unintelligible)…Right side!...(Unintelligible).”

“Morton, you good?”

“No, I’m hit multiple times, arm, both legs, head.”

Call for ambulance

 “Morton, can you make it out a window?”

“I don’t think so. I don’t know if I can move my feet.”

“19 (Morton), where you at?”

“Back room. I’m stuck.”

“Can you see the suspect?”

“All call CPD units.”

“19,18,14 all hit with assault rifle fire.”

“Confirmation of injury.”

“Crossfire.”

“Morton, Morton! Stay with us, Morton!”

“Safe for EMS to come in?”

“Negative, negative.”

“Still have one inside, can’t get to him.”

“Go ahead. Send SWAT team.”

Request for all units to change frequency.

In the meantime, law enforcement from other jurisdictions, including the Kansas City area, were racing to Clinton to help.

"No, we are definitely going to need you. I've also got (unintelligible) and (unintelligible) en route. OK. Copy."

"I believe also unit 17 behind us en route as well. They should be about 5-10 miles behind us. OK, this is involving four officers with an AR-15, I believe."

Back at the scene, Clinton police raced against time trying to get help for their fallen officers.

"I need that ambulance to Orchard and Grand River right now."

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."

Copyright 2018 KCTV (Meredith Corp.) and the Associated Press. All rights reserved. 

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