Ian McCarthy, accused of killing Clinton, Mo., police officer, lived a solitary, troubled life

AUGUST 09, 2017 6:36 PM


Before he was charged with murder in the shooting of a Clinton, Mo., police officer, 39-year-old Ian James McCarthy lived a largely solitary life marked with long periods of unemployment, run-ins with the law and violence.

When Officer Gary Michael pulled McCarthy over about 10:45 p.m. Sunday, McCarthy had warrants out for his arrest on weapons offenses — one in neighboring Johnson County, Mo., and one in New Hampshire, where McCarthy spent most of his adult life, according to court records. At age 23, McCarthy had been convicted in a stabbing there.

In recent years, McCarthy never seemed to have a job, according to acquaintances in Clinton, passing his time playing video games, hunting and fishing, and collecting monthly payments from a trust fund.

Neighbors said they were surprised — but not shocked — this week when authorities accused McCarthy of shooting Michael to death during the Sunday night traffic stop, touching off a two-day manhunt that ended with McCarthy’s arrest Tuesday. They described a man with few friends, no apparent vocation and a temper.

In Clinton, where McCarthy arrived on a bus about four years ago, not many people knew him better than his landlord, Ed Hannah.

“He’s an odd duck,” Hannah said. “He was such a hermit nobody really knew anything about him.”

Hannah, 72, said he picked up bits and pieces of McCarthy’s history over the years. At times, McCarthy had visited Hannah’s home to fish on his property.

McCarthy had originally come to Clinton to visit a friend he had met online playing video games, Hannah said. McCarthy wound up staying, living alone in a small house owned by Hannah on Gravel Street — only a few blocks from where prosecutors say he later shot Michael and fled.

At first, Hannah said, he was skeptical of renting to McCarthy.

“I said, ‘Where do you work?’ ” Hannah recalled. “He said, ‘I don’t.’ ”

But after making some calls, Hannah confirmed that McCarthy received $2,000 each month from a wealth management firm in Florida. The money had been provided by McCarthy’s deceased grandfather, who had been a banker in New England.

A few times, Hannah had set up job interviews for McCarthy — for landscaping work, which was the only kind McCarthy had mentioned doing before — but he never showed up to them.

About a year and a half ago, McCarthy fell behind on his rent, Hannah said. The landlord made arrangements directly with McCarthy’s fund managers in Florida, who from then on paid Hannah the rent directly.

Hannah never saw McCarthy again.

Neighbors who moved in next door more recently said they only saw McCarthy when he let out his dogs — Minion and Nibbler — whom he doted on like children.

But McCarthy also showed a temper, according to neighbor Whitney Julian, who recalled McCarthy once “going berserk” when heavy machinery in the neighborhood woke him up — it was about 10 a.m., as she recalled.

McCarthy told Julian he had trouble sleeping, she said. The only thing Julian could remember McCarthy doing was playing video games — he rarely had visitors.

Criminal history

While McCarthy mostly stayed off of law enforcement’s radar in Clinton, he had been arrested numerous times in New Hampshire, on charges of robbery and assault, along with traffic offenses. A 2011 warrant for his arrest on a weapons charge and other offenses was still active when he became a murder suspect this week.

In 2001, a jury convicted McCarthy of stabbing a young man during a brawl in Manchester, N.H., leaving the victim with severe injuries to his neck, chest and stomach.

More recently, a Missouri Highway Patrol trooper reportedly found McCarthy with a .45-caliber Glock handgun in his waistband during a July 2015 traffic stop in Johnson County, Mo., about 23 miles from Clinton. As a felon, he would be committing a felony by carrying a firearm.

The trooper found McCarthy’s New Hampshire arrest warrants, but they didn’t require him to be extradited, according to court records.

In his report, the trooper noted McCarthy’s bloodshot eyes and slurred speech, writing that McCarthy told of spending time in prison in New Hampshire for the stabbing.

Johnson County prosecutors charged McCarthy with being a felon in possession of a firearm, a felony, and the court issued a warrant for his arrest in December 2015.

The warrant was still on the court docket when, police say, Officer Michael pulled McCarthy over for a registration violation and the shooting started.

After two days of searching, law enforcement officers on Tuesday evening found a wounded McCarthy walking along a highway near Truman Lake, about 16 miles from Clinton. He had been shot, according to the patrol.

Troopers arrested McCarthy, taking him first to a Kansas City hospital and then to the Henry County jail in Clinton.

McCarthy is scheduled to be arraigned Friday on charges of first-degree murder and armed criminal action.

Ian Cummings: 816-234-4633, @Ian__Cummings

Judy L. Thomas: 816-234-4334, @judylthomas