The police said the suspect lives in Clinton and should be considered armed and dangerous. Gov. Eric Greitens shared a picture of Mr. McCarthy on Facebook and urged Missouri residents to be on the lookout.
Sgt. Bill Lowe, a spokesman for the Missouri State Highway Patrol, said Monday evening that investigators believed Mr. McCarthy was still in or around Clinton.
He said Mr. McCarthy had lived in Clinton “for a while” but was originally from New Hampshire. Mr. McCarthy had no known relatives in the area and “doesn’t have an employment history,” the sergeant said.
“In the recent past we know he was unemployed so there wasn’t anything we can pinpoint that drew him here,” Sergeant Lowe said. He added that investigators were interviewing the suspect’s friends and acquaintances. “We’re getting as much information as possible.”
Mr. McCarthy was convicted of first-degree assault in New Hampshire for the June 2001 stabbing of a minor who was left with severe neck, chest and abdomen injuries, according to court records.
The Associated Press reported on Monday that Mr. McCarthy was charged with more than 20 crimes in New Hampshire between 1997 and 2011. A warrant for his arrest was issued there in 2013 when he failed to show up for sentencing after he was convicted of disorderly conduct, The A.P. said.
Sergeant Lowe said there was also a warrant out for Mr. McCarthy’s arrest in Johnson County, Mo. Court records show that he was charged with unlawful possession of a firearm there in 2015.
Officer Michael was a lifelong resident of Clinton, Sergeant Lowe said. He is survived by his wife and two stepsons and had been on the police force for less than a year.
“He had a past military background and his desire was to be a police officer,” Sergeant Lowe said. “It just came to the point where he was able to do that.”
Before shots were fired, Officer Michael radioed in a description of Mr. McCarthy’s car, a 2008 Dodge Nitro sport utility vehicle, according to a probable cause statement filed with court by Sgt. Greg Martin, an investigator with the Highway Patrol’s Division of Drug and Crime Control. He said the vehicle was registered in the suspect’s name.
Sergeant Martin said Mr. McCarthy’s car was abandoned near the scene of the shooting after it hit an embankment. Neighbors reported seeing a man running from the vehicle after the crash, he said.
Surveillance video from two convenience stores in Clinton was used to link Mr. McCarthy and the abandoned vehicle, Sergeant Martin said.
Video from an Everyday Convenience Store shows Mr. McCarthy driving his car into the store parking lot shortly before Officer Michael was killed, the sergeant wrote. The video shows Mr. McCarthy getting out of the car, entering the store and buying a package of cigar wrappers.
The video then shows him leaving the store and stopping to talk with someone — who court papers describe only as “a witness” — before getting back into his car. Sergeant Martin said that witness confirmed that the person who got in the car and drove off was Mr. McCarthy.
Video from a second shop, Clinton Convenience Store, shows Mr. McCarthy’s car leaving the parking lot of the Everyday Convenience Store and driving toward the scene of the shooting. It does not record the shooting itself.
“At this point, the surveillance footage shows a Clinton Police S.U.V. overtake and activate its lights behind the S.U.V.,” Sergeant Martin wrote. “Both vehicles then leave the view of the camera. The time signature for this footage is consistent with Officer Michael’s murder.”
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