SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – Fatal officer-involved shootings are rare, and the death of Springfield Police Officer Christopher Walsh has made an impact on the Ozarks.
Walsh died Sunday night when he tried to save a shooting victim at the Kum n Go on East Chestnut Expressway near Prince Lane in Springfield.
Walsh started serving with the Springfield Police Department in 2016.
Before Walsh, the last time a Springfield police officer died in the line of duty was in the 1932 Young Brothers Massacre.
Those officers are:
- Chief of Detectives Tony Oliver
- Sidney Meadows
- Charles Houser
Before that shooting, five other Springfield officers died between 1874 and 1930, according to the website, Officer Down Memorial Page.
The website has fallen officers listed from every law enforcement agency around the country. They recently added Officer Walsh to the Springfield page.
Several Greene County deputies who have also died in the line of duty, most recently Deputy Aaron Roberts.
He died in September of 2018 while on his way to check on an abandoned 911 call near Fair Grove.
Roberts was killed by rushing floodwaters near the area.
According to Sheriff Arnott, it took more than an hour, maybe a couple of hours, after hearing Deputy Roberts’ car was washed away before his vehicle and body were found.
Eleven years before, that was the death of Deputy Gary McCormick.
In October 2007, Deputy McCormick was responding to an accident north of Springfield on Highway 13.
The Highway Patrol said McCormick was struck by a vehicle driven by a volunteer firefighter with the Ebenezer Fire District who was responding to the same incident.
Before working for Greene County, McCormick served on the Republic Police Department.
His death marked the first time in 40 years that a Greene County deputy has died in the line of duty. That deputy was Deputy Jerry Inman, according to Officer Down Memorial Page.
And just 30 years before Deputy Inman’s death, two deputies and the then Greene County sheriff were killed in the Young Brothers Massacre.
Those men were:
- Sheriff Marcell Hendrix
- Deputy Wiley Mashburn
- Deputy Ollie Crosswhite
Before that event, only three other deputies died in the line of duty. To see more on them, click here.
Outside of Springfield and Greene County, there have been a few notable law enforcement deaths in the area.
In March 2018, a Clinton Police Officer, Christopher Ryan Morton, died when he and two other officers responded to reports of a woman screaming at home in Clinton.
According to a previous Ozarks First article, when the officers got to the house in the 300 block of West Grandriver Street, the suspect fired at the officers from inside the house. The officers entered the house to confront the man, who shot and killed one officer and wounded the two others.
This incident was the second time in one year the town of Clinton is mourning the loss of a police officer.
Morton had come back to the department after Clinton Police Officer Gary Michael was killed exactly seven months before prior.
In December 2019, a Fayetteville, Arkansas police officer, was killed while sitting in his patrol car.
According to a previous Ozarks First article, Officer Stephen Carr was ambushed and executed while sitting in his patrol vehicle behind the police station.
The suspect was shot and killed by other officers on the scene.