Man on run from police for more than 12 hours charged with murdering Clinton, Mo., police officer

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CLINTON, Mo. — A manhunt is underway Monday morning for Ian McCarthy, 39, a  Clinton, Mo., man charged with killing a Clinton, Mo., police officer during a traffic stop Sunday night.

Sgt. Bill Lowe with the Missouri State Highway Patrol.

Sgt. Bill Lowe with the Missouri State Highway Patrol says around 10: 45 p.m. Sunday, Officer Gary Michael, 37, initiated a traffic stop on a vehicle for a registration violation. He stopped McCarthy along Green Street, near Henry County Sheriff’s office. As Officer Michael exited the patrol vehicle to make contact with McCarthy, McCarthy fired a round towards the officer, striking Officer Michael.

McCarthy has been charged with first-degree murder and armed criminal action.  According to online records, in July 2015, McCarthy was charged with unlawful possession of a firearm. FOX 4 continues to look into his history.

According to Sgt. Lowe, Officer Michael tried to return fire, but it is unclear if the suspect was hit. The suspect then fled the scene in his vehicle. By 6:30 a.m., officers had located the suspect vehicle, but the suspect remained on the run.

“We searched the house we believed the person we were looking for might have been in,” Sgt. Lowe said. “He was not in that house.”

“We have every reason to believe he is still in Clinton,” Sgt. Lowe said. “We don’t have any information indicating he’s out of the area. Having said that, it does not mean it is not the case. We are diligent in thinking he’s somewhere in the area still.”

Check points have since been set up around Clinton, Mo.  Henry County Deputies, Missouri State Troopers and Clinton Police have several parts of the city blocked off. All looking for McCarthy.

Officer Michael was just 37 years old and had less than a year of experience with the police department. He leaves behind a wife and step sons.

Officer Gary Michael

“It’s a tragedy obviously for his family, it’s a tragedy for Clinton Police Department, but it’s a tragedy for this community,” Sgt. Lowe said. “He was doing his job. He was there protecting and serving and that’s what we’re called to do. He did it, and he did it with heroic fashion.”

Fox 4’s Nicole DiAntonio is in Clinton, Mo. She talked to a person who was working nearby when Michael was shot.

“By the time I got to where the door is… I heard one pop, then four pops back to back. I walked outside and heard a lot of people saying oh my gosh. Saying someone had been shot. I come down here around the corner over here at the edge of the building … That time I see the officer being picked up by another officer. Not a pretty scene to describe,”  said Levi Pajula.

He said there are no words to describe the loss of Officer Michael. He also knows the suspect.

Levi Pajula, witness in Clinton, MO where officer was killed during a traffic stop

“My main feeling is just getting back to my kids. Where they were looking for him was just a block from where my house is. Come to find out this man lives right around the block from me. You never seem like a bad guy. Has two dogs. Always kept himself,” Pajula said.

“He will come in here for coffee, normal stuff. Really good guy he always leaves a tip. Even when he doesn’t buy something big, he always leaves at least a dollar tip…”

Ian McCarthy is now considered a suspect in the shooting death of Clinton officer Gary Michael.

Area police departments expressed their condolences for the Clinton Police Department:

Below was video footage from Clinton, Mo.

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