Authorities are searching for a 39-year-old suspect in the fatal shooting of a Missouri police officer during a traffic stop. Clinton police officer Gary Michael, 37, who had been on the force less than a year, died late Sunday near Clinton, about 75 miles southeast of Kansas City, said Missouri State Highway Patrol Sgt. Bill Lowe. The traffic stop involved a registration violation, per the AP. The vehicle stopped was registered to Ian McCarthy of Clinton, and Lowe said Monday that McCarthy is suspected in the killing. The driver fired at Michael, then drove away but crashed and fled on foot, Lowe said. Michael was able to return fire; it wasn't clear whether the driver was shot or injured in the crash.
Court records indicate McCarthy pleaded guilty in November 2013 in Missouri to a misdemeanor charge of driving without a valid license. In July 2015, he was charged with unlawful possession of a firearm. Court records don't indicate the outcome of that case. Michael was a lifelong resident of Clinton and leaves behind a wife and stepsons. "In a small community, the police department is very tight-knit, so it's obviously devastating for the family and also for the police department," Lowe said. "[Michael] was heroic right to the end. He was protecting his community." (Read more police officer stories.)