Four Western Missouri law enforcers had their names engraved on the wall of the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Washington, D.C.
They lost their lives in the line of duty. They died to preserve the greater good. In plain words, they died for us.
The National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund reported 158 law enforcement officers died in line-of-duty incidents in 2018. In this part of Missouri, the four law enforcers who gave their lives are Clinton Patrolman Christopher Ryan Morton, Special Agent Melissa S. Morrow, Miller County Deputy Sheriff Casey Lee Shoemate and Greene County Deputy Sheriff Aaron Paul Roberts.
“These officers and agents remind us of the risks we ask our law enforcement officers to take every day,” the U.S. attorney for the Western District, Tim Garrison, said. “We can show our appreciation for their sacrifice by supporting their brothers and sisters in uniform who continue that good, essential work.”
Garrison’s office provided details regarding the service of each of the four law enforcers.
• About 75 miles south of Richmond, in Clinton, Morton answered a domestic violence call. Such calls can be unpredictable. The dispatcher heard screaming in the background. Officers entered the residence and a person hiding in the bathroom used a 9mm, semi-automatic rifle to shoot at them. A bullet hit Morton and he later died from the wound. Two other officers also suffered wounds. With the residence surrounded, Morton’s killer, out on bail for weapons and methamphetamine charges, and under investigation for a rape, committed suicide.
• Morrow died as the result of brain cancer that she developed while pursuing her search-and-recover assignment at the Pentagon following the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001. She was assigned to the FBI Washington Field Office’s Evidence Response Team. She spent 10 weeks recovering and processing evidence from the site in hazardous and contaminated conditions.
• Shoemate died in a vehicle crash on Route Y while responding to a structure fire at a fellow employee’s house. He collided head-on with another vehicle during the response.
• Roberts drowned after his patrol car was swept into the swollen Pomme de Terre River in the area of Cabin Creek Road and Farm Road 2. He had responded to a 911 hang-up call in the area and was returning to service. He made an emergency radio broadcast when his vehicle was swept off of the road in floodwaters. After an intensive search, rescue crews located his vehicle approximately 50 yards downstream and recovered Roberts’ body from inside.
Each of these individuals had people who cared for them, who felt losing them personally; probably, they will feel that loss forever.
The four law enforcers deserve to be honored.
They deserve to be remembered.
They deserve thanks for their service.
All law enforcers do.