After 911 Call, Officers Were Sent to Wrong House—Fatally

Missouri officers responded to home in Clinton, when call really came from Windsor
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 8, 2018 4:44 AM CST
Updated Mar 8, 2018 6:11 AM CST
This undated photo released by Clinton Police Department shows officer Christopher Ryan Morton.   (Clinton Police Department via AP)
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(Newser) – "It is a coincidence," says Missouri Highway Patrol Sgt. Bill Lowe, and a deadly one. After a 911 call Tuesday in which women were heard screaming, police were dispatched to a home in Clinton, Mo., where all were shot, one fatally—and it was the wrong home. Lowe says the officers should have been sent to an entirely different town, Windsor, some 20 miles away, reports the Kansas City Star, which notes it's unclear if the error was made by human or computer. A news release from the Missouri Highway Patrol states, "After confirming with dispatch the address of the residence, officers entered the house where they encountered the suspect," who shot at them, and later, "Further investigation revealed the phone number from the original 911 call came from an address in Windsor." Clinton police officer Christopher Ryan Morton, 30, was killed.

Lowe notes that while the officers were sent to the wrong house, "the fact is [the residents] were in the act of committing crimes within that house." The AP explains the series of events: Tammy Widger, 37, greeted the arriving officers and said nothing was amiss and no one else was home. The officers entered the house anyway to verify all was well and found James Waters inside; the 37-year-old began firing at police and was later found dead by the SWAT team that arrived on the scene. Widger was charged Wednesday with possession of methamphetamine with intent to deliver after drugs were allegedly found in the home. One more tragic twist: Morton, an Afghanistan veteran, switched his status with the Clinton PD from reserve to full time in September—to fill the hole left by Officer Gary Michael, who was killed during a traffic stop.

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