KNOB NOSTER, Mo. -- When news broke of the death of Clinton police officer Christopher "Ryan" Morton, the impact sent ripples from Clinton throughout the metro.
While the community mourns the loss of an officer, many of the individuals whose lives were touched by Ryan are still in shock.
FOX4's Melissa Stern spoke to Morton's former youth pastor. He says he's in disbelief and says he's praying for Morton's family.
“So I got in the car this morning, and I just caught the tail end of the news broadcast. I didn't hear a town. All I heard was Christopher Morton, and I knew him as Ryan Morton, so I heard the last name and I thought of Ryan, but thought, 'That's not Ryan,' and as I was almost to work I got a phone call from another lady at church, and she asked me if I heard about Ryan, and as soon as she said that, I realized that it was him. It was one of those sinking feelings inside. You just can't believe that took place,” says Greg Colliver, the youth pastor at Heartland Church in Knob Noster.
Police believe 37-year-old James Waters, from Clinton, killed Morton.
Morton is from Knob Noster, Missouri, about an hour and 15 minute drive east from the metro. He attended Knob Noster High School and later studied at University of Central Missouri. He was also a member of Heartland Church.
Colliver remembers Morton as funny and outgoing, and said he often served as a mentor to the younger kids.
“I'm going to pray for his mom and dad, and his sister Lindy. She was in the youth group too. It's going to be hard, really hard,” Colliver said.
Morton returned to the Clinton Police Department seven months ago after his friend Officer Gary Michael was killed.