Misdirected 911 call leads to shooting, death of Clinton police officer

Posted at 10:31 AM, Mar 08, 2018
and last updated 2018-03-08 13:22:44-05

CLINTON, Mo. — On Tuesday night, Henry County Sheriff dispatchers took a 9-1-1 call in which they heard two women screaming over the phone.

That call started a tragic chain of events that led to the death of a 30-year-old veteran who had stepped up to fill the role of an officer who died just a few months prior.

Police initially never made it to the address in Windsor, Mo., where dispatchers heard the two women screaming because an unexplained 9-1-1 system error sent them to an address 15 miles away in Clinton.

Once at the address in Clinton, officers encountered an armed suspect.

Below is our extended coverage of the what led up to the shootout, the incident itself, and the aftermath in a community that has seen two officers shot to death in the line of duty in less than a year.

  • Ofc. Christopher Morton was shot and killed when responding to an address that was unrelated to the 911 call he and other officers thought they were responding to. He had dedicated his adult life to serving his country and his community. Click to read more about his past service and his role in the force. 
  • The Missouri State Highway Patrol identified James Waters, 37, as the suspect in the shooting that killed Morton. MSHP Sgt. Bill Lowe said when officers responded to the address in Clinton, a woman answered the door and said nothing was wrong. The officers said they needed to come in and check since it was a disturbance call. Lowe said as officers entered the residence and moved down a hallway, Waters opened fire. Waters has a list of felonies on his criminal record.
  • Before he joined the Clinton Police Department, Morton was a member of the Missouri Army National Guard for eight years. He had federal deployments to Kosovo and Afghanistan. Click to read about his service and awards.
  • In 2014, the Kansas City Royals honored Morton at the K for his military service. Watch the ceremony here.
  • Morton is the second Clinton police officer to die in the line of duty in less than a year. In August 2017, Officer Gary Michael was shot and killed during a traffic stop. The community will now have to heal once again. 
  • Officer Gary Michael's family said Morton's death brought back the pain they experienced last year. “It was like cutting the same wound open or ripping off the same scab,” explained Officer Michael’s brother, Chris.