Family of Gary Michael responds to loss of another Clinton officer

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The death of Clinton Police Officer Christopher Ryan Morton on Tuesday night seemed tragically familiar for the family of a fellow fallen officer.

Ofc. Gary Lee Michael was shot and killed in the line of duty last August during a traffic stop in Clinton.

Michael’s family said Morton’s death this week 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. “My sisters were on the phone and my mother. We just sat there and prayed for a better outcome.”



Morton was shot and killed responding to a call on Tuesday night in Clinton, exactly seven months after the day Michael died.

After hearing the news of Morton’s death, Chris said he immediately thought of the fallen officer’s family.

“I know what that call feels like,” he explained. “It’s a bottomless, empty, no answer heartbreak.”

On Wednesday, law enforcement leaders reported that Morton had filled the position left by Michael following his death last year.

Chris could remember seeing Morton at services following his brother’s death in the summer.

“At the visitation, I remember Ryan’s face so vividly,” he explained. “It makes my stomach upset.”

On Wednesday, Chris wore a hat that belonged to his brother.

The black hat, which features a Thin Blue Line flag, was retrieved from Michael’s car following his death.

Signs of the tragic shooting last year can still be seen around Clinton, which added to the pain this week for Chris.

“There’s still blue ribbons up from my brother,” said Chris, pointing to a home across the street. “The wounds are not fully healed.”

Chris pointed to both Michael and Morton being former members of the U.S. Army as a sign they had a special call to help others.

“Both had a servant’s heart,” he explained. “You can see that by their military service and to their community.”

With the Clinton community now dealing with another tragedy, Chris said both Morton and his brother would be remembered as heroes.

“I couldn’t be more proud of them,” he explained. “I’m going to be really proud of my community in the next couple days.”

Chris also said he knew the two other Clinton officers who were shot and wounded on Tuesday night.

Both officers are expected to be recover from their injuries.

Moving forward, Chris said he would keep the family of Officer Morton in his thoughts and prayers.

“We definitely have a connection there. An indescribable connection,” he explained. “Our hearts pour out for that family. We know what they’re going through.”

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