The traffic stop involved a registration violation, Lowe said. The suspect reportedly fled in the Nitro, which was found two blocks away.
The Clinton Police Department has no body camera policy, but police were working Monday morning to determine if there was dashcam video from Michael's vehicle or surveillance video from nearby businesses, Lowe said.
Sergeant Martin said Mr. McCarthy's vehicle was found abandoned a short distance from the scene of the shooting after it hit an embankment.
The highway patrol identified and released a photo of a man they said is a person of interest in the shooting: 39-year-old Ian McCarthy of Clinton.
Police were at first reluctant to name pin the shooting on him, describing him only as a "person of interest". Lowe says the driver got out of the auto and shot at Michael, who was able to return fire. Lowe says Michael was "heroic right to the end". The driver fled the scene.
Michael had only been on the force for one year.
A manhunt is underway for a 39-year-old driver who is accused of killing a Missouri police officer.
McCarthy now faces charges for first-degree murder and felony armed criminal action in Henry County, where the city of Clinton is located.
Missouri State Highway Patrol Sgt. Bill Lowe said the officer's death was "devastating". Although fatally wounded, Michael was able to return fire.
Authorities were searching for McCarthy Monday in the Clinton area, about 75 miles (120 kilometers) southeast of Kansas City.