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State officials memorialize fallen law enforcement officers in solemn service


JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — In the shadow of the Capitol, state officials and loved ones gathered for a solemn memorial service Saturday to remember and honor Missouri’s law enforcement officials killed in the line of duty.

The names of four men and women who died in 2018 were added to the Missouri Law Enforcement Memorial overlooking the Missouri River on Saturday — the 25th anniversary of the monument. Five others killed in earlier years were also added during the emotional service.

Those added were:

  • Clinton Police Officer Christopher Ryan Morton, who was fatally shot on March 6, 2018 while responding to a 911 call
  • FBI Special Agent Melissa S. Morrow, who died on March 22, 2018 from brain cancer that developed from her work on the search and recovery efforts at the Pentagon following the 9/11 terrorist attacks
  • Miller County Deputy Sheriff Casey L. Shoemate, who was killed in a car crash on April 20, 2018 while responding to a fire
  • Greene County Deputy Sheriff Aaron Paul Roberts, who was killed on September 7, 2018 after his patrol car was swept into flood waters as he was responding to a 911 hangup call

“Whenever there is a line of duty death, we know it hits the departments in a special way, and we also know the families of the fallen are always thinking of their loved ones,” Department of Public Safety Director Sandy Karsten told The Missouri Times. “So today it’s important as the 25th anniversary of the memorial here … we continue to remember the service and sacrifices that the families have endured.”

Deputy Attorney General for Criminal Litigation Cris Stevens said “it’s not enough” just to remember those who have been killed and their families.

“Let’s also remember those on patrol out there today. I ask not only that we keep our fallen law enforcement officers in our memorials and in our prayers, but that we support and defend those continuing the fight just like they’re sworn to support and defend our laws and our constitution,” Stevens said during the event.

Others included on the memorial Saturday were: Greene County Deputy Sheriff John Henry Keller who was attacked by an inmate in July 1895; Barren Fork Township Constable Joday Wilson who was fatally shot in March 1905; Macon Police Department Officer Claude W. Whyles who was fatally shot in February 1936; Missouri Department of Liquor Control Agent Thomas Jefferson Greer who died of a heart attack while responding to a call in February 1971; and Steele Police Department Chief William Edward Stanfield who died of a heart attack while responding to a call in May 1971.

Families and loved ones of officers killed in the line of duty solemnly placed white flowers on a memorial wreath during the ceremony as the names of the deceased were read.

Gov. Mike Parson did not attend Saturday’s event but has called for the state Capitol to be lit blue for a week in honor of Missouri’s fallen law enforcement officials.

“Law enforcement officers in Missouri and throughout our nation protect us every day without second-guessing the potential impacts on them,” Parson said in a statement. “They selflessly spring into action to maintain the safety of others, and sadly, some give their lives doing so.”