CLINTON, Mo. (AP) — A man who is charged with supplying the weapon used to kill a western Missouri police officer admitted that he bought the rifle for the suspect and threw it in a creek after the shooting, according to a probable cause statement filed in the case.
William Noble, 35, of Clinton, was charged Thursday with felony tampering with evidence. He is accused of buying the rifle that investigators believe Ian McCarthy, 39, of Clinton, used in the killing of Clinton police Officer Gary Michael on Sunday.
Investigators have said that Michael was killed when the driver of a car he stopped for a traffic violation in Clinton Sunday jumped out and shot him. The suspect drove a few blocks before crashing the car and fleeing on foot. McCarthy was arrested and charged after a two-day manhunt. He was scheduled to be arraigned Friday.
Noble initially told two officers who visited his home on Thursday that he bought the rifle and sold it to McCarthy. He then changed his story and acknowledged that McCarthy asked him to buy the rifle for him. He said he did so because McCarthy was from out of state.
McCarthy served time in prison in New Hampshire for first-degree assault and a parole violation. He also was wanted at the time of his arrest on a warrant out of Johnson County, Missouri, issued in 2015 for unlawful possession of a firearm. As a convicted felon, McCarthy could not legally own a firearm.
Noble told the officers he “panicked” when he returned home on Monday — the day after the shooting — and found the rifle leaning against an inside doorway, the statement said. He said he told his wife he needed to take out the trash and instead drove to a creek about two miles north of Clinton, where he threw it into the water. He took the two officers to the creek Thursday, where they recovered a rifle that “meets the description and appears to me to be the weapon used in the murder,” according to the probable cause statement.
The probable cause statement does not address how Noble knew McCarthy and Missouri State Highway Patrol spokesman Bill Lowe said Thursday the relationship was unclear.
McCarthy apparently did not have many friends in Clinton, according to his neighbors and landlord. They told The Kansas City Star that McCarthy generally stayed inside his home only a few blocks from where McCarthy was killed and seemed to spend his time playing video games and hunting and fishing. He did not appear to have a job since arriving in Clinton about four years ago to visit a friend he met while playing video games on line. He lived off $2,000 a month from a trust fund set up by his deceased grandfather, according to his landlord, Ed Hannah.
“He’s an odd duck,” Hannah said. “He was such a hermit nobody really knew anything about him.”
Hannah said he set up a few job interviews for McCarthy but he never showed up to them. After McCarthy fell behind on his rent about a year and half ago, Hannah arranged to be paid directly by the trust fund managers and never saw McCarthy again.
Next-door neighbors said they mostly saw McCarthy when he let out his dogs — Minion and Nibbler — whom he doted on. One neighbor, Whitney Julian, said McCarthy had a temper, once “going berserk” when heavy machinery woke him up — at about 10 a.m. But neighbors mostly saw McCarthy only when he let out his two dogs.