Days after Clinton, Mo., Police Officer Gary Michael was shot and killed during a traffic stop, he was remembered as brave by family members during a candlelight vigil held in his honor Wednesday outside the Henry County Courthouse.
Surrounded by Michael’s wife, Cindy, and other family members, Chris Michael said his 37-year-old brother was a public servant who put the concern and safety of others before his own.
“That what my brother was,” Chris Michael said. “Brave.”
Clinton Police Deputy Chief Sonny Lynch implored hundreds of mourners to take a look around at the crowd. The camaraderie between mourners, Lynch said, was heart-warming.
“I am so proud to live in this town,” he said.
Earlier Wednesday, dozens of law enforcement officers led a long procession returning Gary Michael’s body to Clinton for burial.
His body had been in Kansas City since Monday while an autopsy was performed, according to the Missouri Highway Patrol. On Wednesday morning, a long procession of law enforcement vehicles escorted his body to a funeral home in Clinton.
Michael was fatally shot Sunday night by a driver he pulled over for a traffic stop. After a two-day manhunt, suspect Ian James McCarthy of Clinton was arrested. He has been charged with murder.
When the law enforcement escort set out from Kansas City on Wednesday morning and headed south on U.S. 71, dozens of onlookers stopped to watch. Motorists heading the other direction slowed or stopped.
The long line of law enforcement vehicles passed out of town with their emergency lights flashing.
A woman identified as Michael’s sister said it seemed “every bridge was covered with people that cared” from Kansas City to Clinton.
“It was completely overwhelming to see that type of love and respect,” she said.
Thin Blue Line USA, a company that sells law enforcement-supporting merchandise, announced Wednesday that it is raising money in honor of Michael’s family and will donate the profits from sales of its bracelets to the nonprofit of the family’s choice.
A visitation will be 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Friday at Vansant-Mills Funeral Home, 314 W. Jefferson St. in Clinton.
Funeral services will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday at the Benson Convention Center, 1008 E. Sedalia Ave. in Clinton.
A public viewing will be held prior to the funeral from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m.
Burial will follow funeral services at Englewood Cemetery in Clinton.
Fond memories and condolences can be left online at www.vansant-millsfuneralhome.com.