CLINTON, Mo. - People around the Clinton community continued to come together on Monday, a day after a local police officer was shot and killed in the line of duty.
The tragic death of Officer Gary Michael occurred after he pulled over a car late Sunday night. The driver, who police have identified as 39-year-old Ian McCarthy, opened fire before driving off. As of Monday night, the suspect was still on the loose.
The tragedy brought shock to all who knew Michael, including family friend Jamie Judd.
"He just enjoyed people, he enjoyed life in general," she explained. "He enjoyed going out and fishing."
Judd said she knew Michael from his childhood when he would stop by his father's car dealership in town.
From a young age, Judd said Michael knew he wanted to be a police officer.
"He was doing what he wanted to do all his life," she explained. "That's the one thing he talked about was wanting to be a police officer."
Gary Michael's brother, Chris Michael, said he was a hero long before he joined the police force.
"He was my big brother," said Chris Michael. "He was my hero when I was three and he's my hero today."
But Chris Michael said he isn't letting his pain turn to rage and he's more concerned about his family and the community.
"I'm not angry at this moment," he said. "It was one man's bad decision. I'm sad. I'm very sad but my brother was part of a police department and a community that will bring this man to justice."
Gladstone police officer Leah Law helped Michael accomplish his dreams. The two attended the police academy together. A year ago, she helped Michael get a job with the Clinton Police by serving as one of his references.
"He wanted to do good and I believe he did good. He went out doing good... I just hope one day I can be that brave," Law told 41 Action News.
Flags flew at half-staff across town while other residents put out blue ribbons and Thin Blue Line flags outside their homes.
Janet Darnell, who has lived in Clinton for years, put a ribbon outside the local flower shop she works at to stand with Clinton police.
"It's always a small community like this, so we decided to put the ribbon out," she explained. "I'm sure some other businesses will be doing the same. Just wanted to let everybody know we were thinking of them."
With McCarthy still on the loose on Monday night, police told the community to take caution.
If you know anything about this crime or notice anything suspicious in the Clinton area, call law enforcement immediately.
"As a police officer, I hope for the sake of the community McCarthy is caught and he's caught quick," said Law. "As a friend [of Michael's], they can't find him soon enough. And as a mom, a parent, I am devastated."