CLINTON, Mo. — Hundreds of people gathered together in Clinton, Missouri Wednesday night, to honor a fallen hero.

The body of Clinton police officer Gary Michael was escorted by law enforcement, from the Jackson County medical examiner’s office back home to Clinton Wednesday. The route was lined with first responders and ordinary citizens who paused to honor the fallen officer.

Michael was shot and killed Sunday night during a car stop in Clinton.  Ian McCarthy, 39, of Clinton, was captured after a manhunt, and charged with Michael’s murder.

A candle light vigil was held in Michael’s honor Wednesday night.  Hundreds of people gathered in the center of the small town of 9,000 to pay respects in front of the Henry County Court House.

Many people who live there say they hope their presence and outpouring of support will give the grieving family some comfort.

Officers and neighbors stood stoically to show respect for Michael as his procession passed.

“The people that protect us, go that extra step, whether its police or military, they are out there every day,” said Clinton resident Rich Theiler.
Firefighters offered a silent salute while on top of a fire truck parked on Kansas City-area bridge.
From Kansas City to Clinton, the loss of life hit home.

Heather Straisinger lives in Clinton. “He was a dad, a brother,” she noted.

“It’s hard because there are three kids that have to know dad’s not coming home,” said Irma Straisinger.

Now his family is preparing to lay him to rest in his hometown.

Anthony Day went to school with Gary Michael. “I would definitely call him a hero. I’d like to say to the family thank you very much. I appreciate his service both to the military and this community”

Visitation will be held Friday from 6 pm to 9pm at the funeral home in Clinton.  A second public viewing will be held at the Benson Convention Center in Clinton from 9:00am to 11:00am Saturday.

Michael’s funeral will be held on Saturday at 11:00 am at the convention center.

(KCTV and KDKD contributed information for this story)

More photos from tributes Wednesday in Kansas City and Clinton: