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Man accused of fatally shooting a Missouri police officer during a traffic stop has been arrested


A man accused of fatally shooting a Clinton, Mo., police officer during a traffic stop Sunday before fleeing has been arrested, authorities say.

Ian McCarthy, 39, was taken into custody Tuesday night in Urich, Mo., according to the Associated Press. He has been charged with first-degree murder and armed criminal action in the death of Officer Gary Michael.

The search for McCarty involved more than 100 local, county and state law enforcement officers.

A four-minute police dispatch recording obtained by the Kansas City Star paints a picture of what happened in small-town Missouri about 10:45 p.m. Sunday, when what was supposed to be a routine traffic stop turned deadly.

Michael had just pulled over a sport utility vehicle for what investigators in Missouri said was a registration violation.

In a police dispatch recording, an officer, presumably Michael, can be heard radioing his location and giving a phonetic alphabet spelling of the license plate: “Mary King 9 Zebra 2 Henry, Mary King 9 Zebra 2 Henry.”

It was a dark gray Dodge SUV. “Unknown occupants,” he said.

Seconds later, there was a scream: “Shots fired! Officer hit!”

The sound of sirens began blaring. The SUV had driven away, but the officer’s car was not moving.

A dispatcher alerted all Henry County units that an officer had been shot and the suspect had escaped.

“Shots fired! Officer down, officer down. I repeat, officer down!” another officer can be heard saying.

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A helicopter was soon heard hovering.

“Get an ambulance here immediately. Immediately!” the officer said.

Michael, a 37-year-old police officer in Clinton, about 75 miles from Kansas City, Mo., went into cardiac arrest, according to the audio. He was pronounced dead at a hospital.

He had been shot with a long gun, an officer can be heard saying. The bullet went through his vest.

Sgt. Bill Lowe of the Missouri State Highway Patrol said that after McCarthy was pulled over, he got out of his SUV and fired shots at Michael.

The officer was able to fire back, but it’s unclear whether he struck McCarthy.

McCarthy then drove off but crashed his car and ran away, Lowe said.

“It’s an unprovoked attack on Officer Michael,” Lowe told The Washington Post. “We’re trying to hopefully draw this to a conclusion so we can figure out why it happened.”

There’s no body-camera footage of the incident, and authorities are not sure whether dash-cam video is available. Lowe said investigators are looking at surveillance cameras in the area.

“We’re still searching the area and making sure that we’re leaving no stone unturned,” he said.

Lowe said he is not sure how many times Michael was struck, or where.

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Michael had been an officer with the Clinton City Police Department for just less than a year. It was his dream job, his brother told the Kansas City Star.

“Gary’s only regret was that he didn’t do this sooner,” Chris Michael said. “He was just loving what he did and really enjoyed the people in the community.”

Condolences from law enforcement agencies from across Missouri and other parts of the country have poured in on social media for Gary Michael’s family and the police department.

“Our hearts are heavy this morning, and our prayers are with the Clinton Police Department and the fallen officer’s family. #ThinBlueLine,” the sheriff’s office in Clay County, Mo., tweeted Monday morning.

A memorial of stuffed toys, flowers, candles and balloons was near the scene of the shooting Tuesday morning, according to media reports.

Flowers were also left outside the police station.

This story, originally published on Aug. 7, has been updated. 

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