Alert driver’s tip led to capture of police killing suspect

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By MARGARET STAFFORD

Associated Press

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) – A man charged in the shooting death of a western Missouri police officer was arrested after an alert driver provided a tip that the fugitive was wandering within miles of where the killing took place, a law enforcement official said.

The driver reported seeing Ian McCarthy walking along a state highway near Bucksaw Marina, just east of Clinton, and he was arrested without incident late Tuesday, Sgt. Bill Lowe of the Missouri Highway Patrol said at a news conference later that night.

The arrest ended a two-day manhunt that began after 37-year-old Clinton police officer Gary Michael was shot to death during a traffic stop Sunday night in Clinton, about 75 miles (120 kilometers) southeast of Kansas City.

Michael and McCarthy had exchanged gunfire before the officer died and the driver fled. Lowe said McCarthy, 39, was suffering from a gunshot wound when a patrol trooper arrested him. Lowe declined to provide specifics about the gunshot wound.

McCarthy was taken to a Kansas City area hospital for treatment and then was taken into custody at the Henry County jail. He is scheduled to be arraigned on Friday on charges of first-degree murder and armed criminal action. Online court records as of Wednesday do not show whether McCarthy has an attorney.

“We’re just extremely thankful to the citizens of Henry County and citizens of Clinton that continued to give us tips and information. Without that, we may still be looking for him,” Lowe said.

McCarthy was not armed when he was arrested. Investigators will continue to look for the weapon used in Michael’s shooting and try to determine a motive, Lowe said.

As the investigation continues, attention turned to honoring Michael, who was the first officer killed in the line of duty in Clinton.

His body was returned Wednesday to Clinton from Kansas City, where it had been since Monday while an autopsy was performed. A long line of police cars from across the state accompanied the body on the nearly 70-mile route, with emergency lights flashing. Along the route, vehicles stopped as the procession passed and onlookers paused to watch.

Hundreds of residents waited with police officers to greet Michael’s body when it arrived in Clinton. At the funeral home, his fellow officers saluted as his body was carried into the building before a prayer was said.

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, Missouri, in 2015 for unlawful possession of a firearm.

Lowe said earlier Tuesday that it was possible those outstanding warrants prompted McCarthy to shoot Michael to avoid arrest. He also could have been under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or not in his right mind for some reason, Lowe said.

Michael’s brother, Chris Michael, said the family is relieved that the suspect has been caught alive so “justice could be served.” Michael told KCTV5 that McCarthy’s capture was a positive step for everyone mourning his brother.

“We’re just happy that we’re going to be able to put this one Band-Aid in a long process of healing on, and start to move forward,” he said.

Michael, who had been on the force less than a year, 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.

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Associated Press reporter Jim Suhr also contributed to this story.

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