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Parson orders Capitol lighted blue in honor of fallen law enforcement officers


Press release

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Governor Parson has ordered the lighting of the Missouri State Capitol dome and the Law Enforcement Memorial in the Capitol’s north plaza to shine blue beginning Friday evening in honor of the state’s law enforcement officers who died in the line of duty.

The Office of Administration will turn the lights blue in time for weekend ceremonies remembering fallen law enforcement officers. The lights will remain blue throughout next week.

“Law enforcement officers in Missouri and throughout our nation protect us every day without second guessing the potential impacts on them. They selflessly spring into action to maintain the safety of others, and sadly, some give their lives doing so. Illuminating the Capitol and Law Enforcement Memorial blue is just one small way for us to show our sincere thanks to these brave men and women,” Governor Mike Parson said.

“Each May, Missouri law enforcement officers from across the state gather to remember and honor our brave officers who paid the ultimate price for protecting us and their courageous, resilient family members for their many sacrifices,” Department of Public Safety Director Sandy Karsten said. “Lighting the Capitol blue is a moving tribute and sends a message that Missouri supports all who wear the badge and risk their lives to make Missouri safer.”

The Department of Public Safety today announced details of two ceremonies at the Law Enforcement Memorial to honor Missouri law enforcement officers who paid the ultimate price for protecting their communities. The events will be held on May 3 and 4 at the memorial on the north side of the Capitol, overlooking the Missouri River.

On Friday evening, May 3, a candlelight vigil will be held at the Missouri Law Enforcement Memorial in tribute to all Missouri law enforcement officers who have died in the line of duty.

On Saturday, May 4, the names of four officers who died in the line of duty in 2018 will be added to the memorial’s Wall of Honor during the annual Law Enforcement Memorial Service. The names of five officers who died in the line of duty in the past will also be added to the 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.

The families of the fallen and representatives of law enforcement agencies from across Missouri will participate in Saturday’s solemn service. Department of Public Safety Director Sandy Karsten will be a guest speaker at Saturday’s service.