Before leaving role at KC VA Medical Center, Officer Morton told coworkers Clinton needed him more

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Workers at the VA Medical Center are mourning a Clinton police officer shot and killed Tuesday night.

Officer Chris Ryan Morton

Ryan Morton recently had worked at the hospital protecting and serving America's heroes.

The VA police force hired Morton in December 2016, when he was a reserve officer in Clinton.

As a military veteran himself, his co-workers at the hospital say Morton enjoyed helping other vets.

During his ten months at the VA, friends say he focused on going back to school, completing college courses during the day, while working the midnight shift at the medical center.

He left the hospital last September after his friend, Clinton police officer Gary Michael, was shot and killed during a traffic stop.

Officer Gary Michael

Morton told people at the medical center he was needed more to serve the people of Clinton.

"After that incident, he felt a need to go back there with the friends that he had made, with the ties he had with the community," said Gene Parker, a friend who works for the Veterans Affairs police. "He felt an obligation to do that. He’s tied to public service. It’s what he wanted to do. It’s what he loved to do. There’s one thing I can say, he stepped up and stepped into doing what it is he wanted to do."

Gene Parker, a former coworker of Officer Ryan Morton

Morton had completed eight weeks of specialized veterans police training, which focused on situational policing techniques.

He learned to adapt his responses to individual situations.

But a gunman never allowed Morton to treat him as an individual before he shot and killed the officer Tuesday night.

Nearly all of the 16 police officers at the medical center want to attend Morton's memorial service. There are also discussions of honoring Morton at the hospital for the service he provided to veterans and staffers.