JOPLIN, Mo. — The Joplin Police Department is remembering an officer who died in the line of duty 52 years ago.
This is JPD’s social media post:
On December 5th, 1967 Patrolman Robert Clifton was shot and killed when he and another officer stopped a vehicle for a routine car stop. The vehicle was occupied by four male youths and a 13-year-old girl who had just robbed and beaten a grocery store operator in Bowie, Texas a few hours earlier. The youths attempted to get a room at the Capri Motel, at 3401 Hearnes Boulevard but the motel owner was suspicious, told them he had no rooms available and called the police. Officer Clifton pulled the car over at 2803 Main Street as Officer Bowlby arrived. The officers ordered the vehicle occupants out of the car and to place their hands on a large sign. One suspect produced a .45 caliber handgun and ordered the officers to raise their hands. Officer Clifton attempted to reason with the suspect then lunged for the handgun. After a brief struggle Officer Clifton was shot in the chest and fell to the ground. Officer Bowlby returned fire striking the suspect five times resulting in his death. Officer Clifton was taken to St. John’s Hospital where he was pronounced dead on arrival.
The other four occupants were returned to authorities in Texas.
Officer Clifton had served with the agency for six and a half years, joining the department as a dispatcher, becoming a uniformed officer in 1962.Joplin Police Department