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Mo. Highway Patrol says it has found rifle they believe was used in deadly shooting of Clinton police officer

CLINTON, Mo. -- Investigators say they believe they've found a key piece of evidence in the deadly shooting investigaton where Clinton Police Officer Gary Michael was killed on Sunday. The Missouri Highway Patrol said on Thursday afternoon that they believe they have the rifle used in the shooting.

The patrol adds that the rifle was found north of Clinton in Henry County.

Ian McCarthy, 39, is charged with first-degree murder and armed criminal action in the death of Officer Michael. Now that the suspected murder weapon has been found, investigators are still working to determine whether McCarthy had any help while he was on the run, and how he ended up in the area he was apprehended.

McCarthy led officers on a manhunt that nearly spanned two days and required more than 100 law enforcement officers. He was finally captured near Bucksaw Marina Tuesday, according to Sergeant Bill Lowe with the Missouri Highway Patrol.

"The incident occurred on Route U, which is just almost directly east of here about a mile south of Bucksaw Marina. He was taken into custody without incident, there was no struggle," Sgt. Lowe said during a news conference.

Authorities were given info by a passerby about a pedestrian walking on a highway. When the Henry County Sheriff's Office received the tip, they passed it on to the highway patrol.

The capture happened at about 6:15 p.m. Sgt. Lowe says he's thrilled that McCarthy is in custody, but the loss of Officer Michael is still stinging. The trooper called it a senseless, cowardly act.

"Officer Michael was heroic to the end, even sustaining a fatal gunshot wound he was able to protect himself and the citizens here in Clinton. That just goes to his heroic actions and his ability to think and process things in a critical manner," Sgt. Lowe said.

McCarthy did suffer a gunshot injury on Sunday, it's not been said where he was struck. He was being treated at a Kansas City hospital, before being booked into the Henry County Jail at 12:19 a.m. Wednesday.