Authorities say police officers were sent to the wrong house when responding to a 911 call during which a man with an extensive criminal history shot and killed one police officer and wounded two others.
The officers were checking on a disturbance at a Clinton, Missouri, home, but Missouri State Highway Patrol Sgt. Bill Lowe says the 911 call Tuesday night was from Windsor, about 15 miles from Clinton. Lowe says it's unclear why they were sent instead to a home in Clinton. When they arrived officers went inside to check if any criminal activity was occurring and were shot.
Lowe says investigators are still trying to determine how the mistake occurred.
A woman who was at the home, 37-year-old Tammy Widget, was charged Wednesday with possession of methamphetamine with intent to deliver and maintaining a public nuisance.
Henry County Prosecutor Richard Shields says it's too early to tell if the drug charges are directly connected to the fatal shooting of 30-year-old Clinton police officer Christopher Ryan Morton and the wounding of the two others.
Patrol Sgt. Collin Stosberg said no one was on the line when the 911 call came in but a disturbance could be heard in the background.
The patrol said shots were fired at the Clinton officers soon after they arrived at the home around 9:20 p.m. Tuesday. Clinton, with about 8,800 residents, is about 70 miles east of Kansas City.
Morton, a 30-year-old who had served in the Army, was fatally shot while trying to apprehend the suspect. Police said Officer Nathan Bettencourt is recovering from gunshot wounds and surgery at a Kansas City area hospital in stable condition. The other officer, Nicholas Kasper, was treated for gunshot wounds and released earlier Wednesday.
A SWAT team entered the home at 12:10 a.m. Wednesday and found the suspect, 37-year-old James Waters, of Clinton, dead. Stosberg said the cause of the suspect's death is under investigation.
Court records show Waters had a history of convictions for drugs and resisting arrest. He served stints in prison from October 2000 through November 2002, May 2003 through April 2008, July 2008 through October 2012 and May 2014 through last July, according to Missouri Department of Corrections spokesman Garry Brix.
Waters was charged in November in Cass County with unlawful possession of a firearm and drug possession, court records show. He pleaded not guilty, and the case was pending when he died.
Morton is the second Clinton police officer in the past year to be killed in the line of duty. In August, Officer Gary Michael was killed during a traffic stop. Ian McCarthy was arrested after a two day manhunt and has pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder in the shooting. Prosecutors are pursuing the death penalty.
Morton, who joined the Army in November 2005 and was twice deployed, returned in May 2014 from Afghanistan.
The patrol said Morton was a full-time Clinton officer from February 2015 through January 2017, when he temporarily became a reserve officer. He returned to full-time duty one month after Michael's death. The patrol described Morton in a tweet as having served with "distinction."