There’s been a dramatic turn to a story out of Clinton, Mo., where three police officers were shot Tuesday night — one fatally.
Authorities now say the officers were sent to the wrong house following a 911 call.
When the call came in, a news release from the Missouri Highway Patrol said no one spoke to emergency personnel but two women could be heard arguing in the background.
Sgt. Bill Lowe told reporters that authorities are investigating why the officers were sent to a house in Clinton when they should have been sent to Windsor, which is about 15 miles away.
As James Doubek reported for The Two-Way, shortly after officers arrived at the house they were shot at by a suspect from inside the residence.
Officer Christopher Ryan Morton, 30, was killed. Officer Nathan Bettencourt is in stable condition, and officer Nicholas Kasper was treated and released Wednesday.
The gunman, who was found dead inside the house, was identified as James Waters. Authorities don’t know yet if Waters shot himself or if he was killed by officers. It’s also not clear if Waters, who had a criminal history, was living in the home.
The Associated Press reports:
“A woman who lived at the home, Tammy Widger, 37, was charged Wednesday with possession of methamphetamine with intent to deliver and maintaining a public nuisance, Henry County Prosecuting Attorney Richard Shields said. Her bond was set at $25,000. Widger had sold drugs out of the home previously but it was not clear Wednesday if the officers’ shooting was directly related to a drug crime, Shields said.
Widger met the officers outside the home and said nothing was going on at the residence. The officers decided to check inside the home anyway to make sure no one was in danger.”
“It is a coincidence they were called to that specific address,” Lowe told reporters. “It is tragic that happened. But the fact is they were in the act of committing crimes within that house. When (the officers) entered that house they were doing what they needed to ensure no one was hurt and there wasn’t any other problems.”
Morton is the second Clinton police officer to be killed in the past year. Seven months ago, officer Gary Michael was shot dead during a traffic stop.
The Kansas City Star reports
Morton joined the Clinton Police Department full time in 2015 and then switched to reserve capacity in January 2017. He returned to full time in late September, six weeks after Michael was killed on duty.
Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens said Morton had filled the post of his fallen colleague.
James Waters’ daughter, Lakeviona Waters, told the newspaper that “she wishes she could apologize to Morton’s family for her father’s actions.”