Hundreds in uniform gather to mourn slain officer Ryan Morton in Clinton
By JOE ROBERTSON AND IAN CUMMINGS | The Kansas City Star (Tribune News Services) | Published: March 12, 2018
Law enforcement officers, members of the military and Gov. Eric Greitens joined loved ones in Clinton, Mo., Monday for the funeral of Ryan Morton, a police officer slain last week.
On a cold, overcast day, a line of people waiting to enter stretched around the Benson Convention Center, where the funeral began at 11 a.m. Inside, a U.S. flag was draped over an open casket, and flowers lined the curtained wall behind the stage.
First Morton's family filed into the front rows, along with members of the Clinton Police Department. Other rows were filled with mourners in law enforcement and military uniforms.
Some law enforcement officers wore special badges, bearing black stripes and Morton's badge number, 319.
In his remarks, Greitens praised police officers as those who "patrol the land, confronting danger and defending the defenseless.
"Here in Clinton we lost one of our police officers," Greitens said. "This community has seen tragedy."
Services for Clinton Police Officer Christopher Ryan Morton are set to begin this morning. Officers from across the country unite to honor his life & #service!! #ClintonPD #UltimateSacrifice #ThinBlueLine pic.twitter.com/PZsvwaGvHi— MSHP Troop A (@MSHPTrooperA) March 12, 2018
Morton, 30, was one of three Clinton police officers shot after being dispatched on a 911 call to a home at 306 W. Grandriver St. in Clinton. The man who fired at them also died during the incident, according to the Missouri Highway Patrol, which is investigating. The other two officers were wounded but survived.
Later, authorities discovered there was a mix-up, and the 911 call had actually come from Windsor, Mo., about 20 miles away.
On Monday, Greitens ordered all U.S. and Missouri flags across the state to fly at half-staff.
A slide show of photos showed a younger, smiling Morton with family, in uniform and with the U.S. Army National Guard. The funeral was to include a procession to Knob Noster Cemetery in Morton's hometown.
Greitens noted that Morton is said to have taken the place of Gary Michael, another Clinton police officer who was shot and killed during a traffic stop in August.
Both Michael and Morton had served in the military.
Clinton, MO citizens gather to honor Officer Ryan Morton as he’s escorted to his final resting place! He served with honor & distinction!#ClintonPD #OfficerMorton #UltimateSacrifice #ThinBlueLine pic.twitter.com/FqecXQjSsf— MSHP Troop A (@MSHPTrooperA) March 12, 2018
Morton served in the armed forces in two tours overseas before becoming a police officer. He joined the Clinton police department in 2015, left in late 2016 for a job as a security officer at the Veterans Affairs Police Department in Kansas City, but returned to Clinton last year.
The Star will provide continuing coverage of Morton's funeral. Check back for updates.
Joe Robertson: 816-234-4789, @robertsonkcstar
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