May 04, 2019

Law enforcement community honors Missouri officers who paid ultimate price protecting fellow Missourians

Names of 4 officers who died in the line of duty in 2018 are added to Missouri Law Enforcement Memorial, along with 5 fallen officers from the past

Missouri’s extended law enforcement family gathered in Jefferson City this morning to remember four law enforcement officers who died in the line of duty in 2018. Their names were added to the Wall of Honor of the Missouri Law Enforcement Memorial. Five other Missouri officers who died in the line of duty in the past – one of whom died 124 years ago– were also added to the Wall of Honor.

Officers, families and friends gathered at the memorial on the north side of the Capitol, overlooking the Missouri River.

Department of Public Safety Director Sandy Karsten, a 33-year veteran of the Missouri State Highway Patrol, spoke at the ceremony.

“We owe a tremendous debt to the men and women we honored today because their commitment to protecting others cost them their lives,” Director Karsten. “Each time Missouri law enforcement officers and supporters come together for this ceremony, I am inspired by the courage and strength of the fallen officers’ survivors and renewed by the sense of unity of Missouri’s law community.”

The following law enforcement officer’s names were added to the memorial wall:

Christopher Ryan Morton – On March 6, 2018, Clinton Police Department Officer Christopher Ryan Morton was shot and killed when he and two other officers were dispatched to a home as a result of a 911 call. Officer Morton was mortally wounded and was rescued from a bedroom inside the house by other officers after about 15 minutes. He succumbed to his wounds at a hospital.

Melissa S. Morrow – On March 22, 2018, Federal Bureau of Investigation Special Agent Melissa S. Morrow died as the result of brain cancer that she developed following her assignment to the search and recovery efforts at the Pentagon following the 9/11 terrorist attacks. She had been assigned to the FBI Washington Field Office’s Evidence Response Team and spent 10 weeks recovering and processing evidence from the site in hazardous conditions.

Casey L. Shoemate – On April 20, 2018, Miller County Deputy Sheriff Casey L. Shoemate was responding to a structure fire at a fellow employee’s house when he was killed in a vehicle crash.

Aaron Paul Roberts – On Sept. 7, 2018, Greene County Deputy Sheriff Aaron Paul Roberts responded to a 911 hang-up call and was returning to service when his patrol car was swept into the flood-swollen Pomme de Terre River. 

John Henry Keller – On July 9, 1895, Greene County Deputy Sheriff John Henry Keller was supervising a 19-inmate work crew when he was attacked with a pickaxe by one of the inmates. He died hours later.

Joday Wilson – On March 1, 1905, Barren Fork Township Constable Joday Wilson (Ozark County) was in his home when he was shot in the head through a window. He died instantly. Months earlier, Constable Wilson had exchanged gunfire with a suspect during an attempted arrest. Two of the suspect’s relatives were charged with killing Wilson.

Claude W. Whyles – On Feb. 3, 1936, Macon Police Department Officer Claude W. Whyles died as a result of gunshot wounds he suffered on Feb. 1, when he responded to a civil disturbance. Before Officer Whyles died, he said he had been attempting to break up a fight when he was shot at least twice.  

William (Bill) Edward Stanfield – On May 29, 1971, Steele Police Department Chief William (Bill) Edward Stanfield (Pemiscot County), died of a heart attack while answering a call. He had served the department since 1943 and was elected police chief in 1957.

Thomas Jefferson Greer – On Feb. 11, 1971, Missouri Department of Liquor Control Agent Thomas Jefferson Greer and a Missouri State Highway Patrol trooper were investigating a call in Stoddard County when Agent Greer suffered a fatal heart attack. The Department of Liquor Control is now the Division of Alcohol and Tobacco Control, a part of the Missouri Department of Public Safety.

On Friday evening, May 3, a candlelight vigil was held at the Missouri Law Enforcement Memorial in tribute to all Missouri law enforcement officers who have died in the line of duty. The State Capitol was bathed in blue beginning Friday evening, after Governor Mike Parson ordered that it be illuminated in blue throughout the next week to honor fallen law enforcement officers.   

Photographs of the ceremony are available for use on the DPS Flickr site


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