CHILHOWEE, Mo. — Police surrounded a home in Chilhowee, Mo., after officers descended on the small town Tuesday afternoon in search of Ian McCarthy, believed to be the man who shot and killed Clinton, Mo. police officer Gary Michael Sunday night.
About three hours later, FOX 4’s Shannon O’Brien reported the operation is over; SWAT went in but did not find McCarthy.
Two SWAT officers with their guns drawn took cover behind the doors of the SWAT vehicle, while other SWAT officers went to an adjacent home and a third officer took cover behind the door of his police SUV with his gun drawn as well.
FOX 4’s Shannon O’Brien reported hearing yelling coming from the location of the house and described some sounds as ‘wailing’, like the sounds of sirens.
Sgt. Bill Lowe with the Mo. State Hwy. Patrol, told FOX 4 that the situation started with a lead, but there was no visual sighting of Michael confirmed by police.
Several law enforcement agencies were helping at the scene, including U.S. Marshals.
Lowe did not call the scene a standoff situation, saying police were attempting to make contact with any occupants in the home.
“Our SWAT team is staging in the area to wait, hopefully making contact with him,” he said. “We hope he would give himself up if he’s in there. But we can’t just go into people’s residences so we gotta make sure we’re taking the proper legal procedures.”
Lowe said police have followed up on numerous tips, leading officers to search schools, buses, and homes, among other locations. He said he was grateful to the community for cooperating with law enforcement.
“We’ve received a lot of tips to where we’ve searched a school, we’ve searched buses, wooded areas. We’ve searched other homes in Clinton. This is no different. We’re trying to find him. We’re going the best we can to vet the information, but the only way to truly vet the information is to go through the process of trying to look for him,” Sgt. Lowe said. “Every lead we get is a good lead, until it’s deemed otherwise.”
He stressed the potential danger of the situation, and advised individuals in the community to continue sharing any tips and to stay safe.
“Just make sure you’re staying away from the area we have cordoned off already. We don’t want anybody else hurt. We want to make sure the citizens here are safe. That’s another thing about the citizens. We’ve been very appreciated of any information they give us, any sighting, any possible sighting that they think has happened. And they’re calling us, so we want that to continue to happen, but we want to make sure everybody’s safe.
Police are taking an especially careful look at vehicles reported stolen in the area, or any possible way for McCarthy to travel.
“The terrain that we’re dealing with, there’s a lot of wooded area, a lot of area to deal with so if he’s not in fact been picked up by someone else or stolen another vehicle, this is a long distance on foot. So, if this is indeed the case where he is, then hopefully we can get it to a conclusion, but right now, we received the tip, following up on it, if it’s not here then we’ll redirect and relocate.”
Lowe said police are grateful for the community’s cooperation with police, and encouraged residents to continue sharing any leads.
“Any time you’re in a small community, a rural community, people know pretty much everybody. So there’s that good aspect that people will call in because these are communities that are pro-law enforcement, and they don’t like individuals coming into their communities with a possible threat to anybody,” Lowe explained. “So if you see somebody walking and they don’t look right, feel free. We want you to call and let us know that they’re around.”
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