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Woman charged with murder in death of Missouri officer

CLINTON, Mo. — A woman has been charged with second-degree murder in the fatal shooting of a western Missouri police officer last week.

The Kansas City Star reports that Tammy Dee Widger was charged Wednesday.

Her rental home was the site of the fatal shooting of Clinton officer Ryan Morton on March 6. She had previously been charged with possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute and with keeping or maintaining a public nuisance.

Henry County prosecutors said the murder charge was added because Morton was killed "as a result of" Widger's drug crime.

Morton was wounded after being sent to the wrong house while responding to a 911 call made from another town. For reasons that authorities still are trying to determine, the officers were sent to the address in Clinton where they were shot instead of the home from where the call was made, which was about 15 miles away in Windsor.

Court documents say Widger answered the door when officers arrived and said there was no disturbance and that she had not made a 911 call. Five officers went into the house anyway, to ensure no one was being harmed, authorities said.

According to the Kansas City Star, an armed man named James Waters was inside the home and gunfire soon erupted. In addition to Morton, two other officers were wounded.

Waters then barricaded himself inside the home. Eventually, a Missouri State Highway Patrol SWAT team entered the house, but by the time officers got to Morton, he was dead, along with Waters.

Widger, who was arrested at the scene, told investigators that in exchange for helping Waters distribute methamphetamine, he agreed to pay her bills, according to court documents.

Widger, 37, is jailed on $100,000 bond. She has requested a public defender but does not yet have an attorney.

An investigation continues into the 911 mistake that sent officers to the wrong house, 20 miles away. Henry County emergency communications officials have blamed a database error.

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