May 16 2018

VIDEO: Blunt Marks National Police Week, Pays Tribute to Missouri Police Officers Killed in the Line of Duty

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Roy Blunt (Mo.), co-chair of the Senate Law Enforcement Caucus, yesterday spoke on the Senate floor to honor our nation’s law enforcement officers during National Police Week.

In his remarks, Blunt paid tribute to the three Missouri law enforcement officers who were killed in the line of duty in the last year: Clinton Police Officers Gary Lee Michael, Jr. and Christopher Ryan Morton, and Miller County Deputy Sheriff Casey Shoemate.

Following are Excerpts From Blunt’s Remarks:

“It's a privilege for me to speak as we honor those in law enforcement …  at a time when we think it's particularly important to recognize what law enforcement officers do, and in my case I want to talk a little bit about the law enforcement officers who lost their lives this year in the line of duty. Too many law enforcement officers around the country lost their lives, were injured, some as I'm going to discuss fatally in the line of duty. We had three law enforcement officers in Missouri who were killed in the line of duty in the past year. …

“Deputy Shoemate was killed last month while responding to a structure fire. He was in a fatal car accident. He'd served in the Miller County Sheriff's Department for one year. He is survived by his two children, by his fiance, by his parents, and by his siblings.

“In March, Clinton, Missouri, police officer Christopher Ryan Morton was shot and killed when he and two other officers responded to an unknown situation as a result of a 911 call. As Officer Morton and his colleagues were arriving at the scene, the subject opened fire, the officers returned fire, they entered the home in an attempt to take the man into custody. That man continued firing and wounded all three of the officers. Officer Morton's colleagues survived their injuries, but Officer Morton's wounds turned out to be fatal. He'd served the Clinton, Missouri, police department for three years, and prior to joining law enforcement, he'd served in the Missouri Army National Guard, where he had deployed to Kosovo, he had deployed to Afghanistan, but it was at home in Clinton, back in Missouri, where he lost his life serving others. He's survived by his parents and by his siblings.

“Then in August of last year, another officer, Gary Michael, was shot and killed during a traffic stop. … Even though he was wounded, as it turned out would be mortally wounded, Officer Michael was able to return fire and wound the subject, who later was apprehended. He'd been with that police department for only a year. He was an Army veteran, and he left behind his wife, his three children, and a grandchild.

“In April, the Clinton Police Department placed a tribute to their two fallen officers in the station. The plaque quoted John 15:13 and it said, ‘greater love has no one than this that he'd lay down his life for his friends.’ You know, officers every day leave their home likely to face more difficult situations than most of us face. …

“When these officers put on their uniforms, when they say goodbye to the people they love, when they walk out the door, they put their lives on the line to try to keep others safe. We are forever indebted to them. We're indebted to their families. And this debt really becomes a responsibility that the sacrifices they make, the trauma, frankly, that some families face every day when we see more and more police officers ambushed, when we see officers more targets than they used to be, is a debt that we owe them and their families. …

“They're our first responders. They run to danger when others are able to run away. All of us in this chamber have an obligation to honor their service not just today, not just during Police Week, but every day and every week. And so this is a week set aside for that, as we see officers here, as we see officers at home, it's a good week to say thank you…to those who serve us.”