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Man who spotted accused Clinton cop killer describes stare-down with suspect at middle of manhunt

CLINTON, Mo. -- After a two-day search, it was one tip that led to the arrest of Ian McCarthy, the man charged with murder in the shooting death of Clinton Police Officer Gary Michael.

Armed and dangerous is how the Missouri Highway Patrol described McCarthy during the search for him, he now sits in the Henry County Jail.

Bud Fitzwater called in the tip that led to his capture after he spotted McCarthy walking down a somewhat desolate road near the Bucksaw Marina on Tuesday night. It was around dusk, and there was a stranger spotted in an area where strangers are noticed.

"I knew that this guy was loose, McCarthy and I knew they were looking for him. He just seemed to fit the bill. He looked me in the eye, he looked right at me. He knew I saw him," Fitzwater described.

Fitzwater told FOX 4's Shannon O'Brien that he grabbed a pistol and went outside after seeing the stranger limping along, walking slowly down the road in front of his home. Then the person he did not recognize turned and began to walk down his driveway towards Fitzwater's house.

"I was really concerned. I had my grandkids down here while this was all going on, and I was really concerned that the guy would get out and get loose in the area," the tipster said.

"He had shaved off his beard. I had called the wife, she was sitting watching TV, and I called her over and I said 'look at this guy, does he look like the McCarthy guy?' And she said 'I don't know.'"

Before Fitzwater could get the chance to figure out if it was indeed McCarthy, he says his neighbor's dog, which Fitzwater describes as big and scary looking, ran across his yard. McCarthy took one look at the dog and went back to the road.

"I thought, well, this guy is going to go in the woods and come around behind, so I come outside and walked around my buildings and looked for him, but couldn't find him," Fitzwater said.

"Were you a little nervous? I mean the guy had killed a police officer allegedly, and he is standing in your driveway?" O'Brien asked.

"Yep. I was real nervous," he replied.

That is when Fitzwater picked up the phone and called 911. It was the tip that ended a regional manhunt before anyone else was hurt.

"Overall I think for the last couple days everybody has been on pins and needles, we have been watching," Fitzwater said.

"I, like everybody else, was kind of fearful that he might get in our house, try to get in, so I am happy to have done it, I feel real sorry for the folks. I am a definite supporter of the police being protected just like we are, and we need to help when we can."

McCarthy wasn't armed when police arrested him. Investigators are still looking for the gun they believed was used to kill Officer Michael.

There will be a vigil for the fallen officer on Wednesday night tonight at the Henry County Courthouse. FOX 4 will stream it live on our fox4kc.com, and on Facebook.