The search for a man wanted in the murder of a Clinton, Mo., police officer continued Tuesday afternoon after the search of a home in Chilhowee, Mo., came up empty.
“Update: Search of Chilhawee residence yielded negative results,” the Missouri Highway Patrol tweeted.
“We’re following up any leads,” Sgt. Bill Lowe told reporters as the patrol surrounded the home. “Any lead we get is a good lead until we deem that it didn’t work out.”
Never miss a local story.
Ian James McCarthy of Clinton, in Henry County, is wanted on a first-degree murder charge in the killing of Officer Gary Michael, 37, who had been on the force less than a year.
A manhunt ensued moments after McCarthy allegedly shot Michael during a traffic stop Sunday around 10:45 p.m. McCarthy allegedly drove away but shortly after that crashed his SUV and fled on foot. He has not been seen since.
The Missouri Highway Patrol, which is leading the investigation, had troopers out on foot and driving through the area Tuesday.
Troopers have been in Chilhowee, Mo., which is about 25 miles northwest of Clinton in Johnson County, Mo., since about 10:30 Tuesday morning on a tip that McCarthy was in the home.
Lowe emphasized that the police presence at the home was no different than other tips they had followed up on.
“We’ve searched a school, we’ve searched buses, we’ve searched wooded areas, we’ve searched another home in Clinton,” Lowe said. “This is no different. We’re doing everything we can to find him.”
The Chilhowee Corner Store posted this message on its Facebook page Tuesday morning:
“Attention all residents and patrons under orders from the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office the store is on lock down and closed until further notice!!!”
A group of about 25 school buses parked in town seemed like a possible hiding place. The patrol searched it but found nothing.
On Monday, McCarthy’s house showed severe damage from a law enforcement raid the night before. Broken windows and an open garage gave evidence to the force of the raid.
The search continued as police checked a vacant school building a few blocks away from the shooting scene near downtown Clinton. A helicopter circled overhead.
A memorial to the slain officer has grown outside the town library, near the scene of the shooting.
It was the first line-of-duty death for Clinton, a town of about 9,000 people near Truman Lake.
Officials say Michael stopped McCarthy in a 2008 Dodge Nitro on Missouri 13 about 10:45 p.m. Sunday for a registration violation. As Michael got out of his patrol car, it is believed McCarthy also got out of his vehicle with a gun and shot the officer, Lowe said.
Michael returned fire, but it was unknown whether McCarthy was hit. McCarthy then allegedly sped off, but his SUV struck an embankment a few blocks away. McCarthy reportedly abandoned the crashed vehicle and fled on foot.
Surveillance cameras at two convenience stores place the 39-year-old suspect in the Dodge Nitro shortly before the shooting. Police afterward found a .223 caliber rifle casing on the seat of the SUV.
“Shots fired! Officer hit,” a man’s voice said at 10:48 p.m. on police tapes. Then moments later: “Shots fired! Officer down. I repeat, officer down. … Get an ambulance here immediately. Immediately.”
A Life Flight air ambulance was on its way within minutes.
Someone asked whether the weapon was a small-caliber handgun or a long gun.
“Should be a long gun — went through the vest,” was the response.
Just before 11 p.m., a medic described the officer’s condition: “GSW (gunshot wound) times two to the chest, and the patient is in cardiac arrest.”
The Star’s Matt Campbell contributed to this report.
A candlelight vigil will be held 8:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Henry County Court House.
Visitation is Friday from 6 to 9 p.m. at Vansant-Mills Funeral Home, 314 West Jefferson St. in Clinton.
Funeral services will be 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 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.