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MANHUNT CONTINUES: Washington State Police Shooting Suspect Not in Seattle Home

sho.jpgA Seattle police SWAT team this morning swarmed a Leschi home surrounded overnight but did not find suspected cop killer Maurice Clemmons inside.

A murder warrant has been issued for Clemmons, the man suspected of killing four Lakewood police officers Sunday in a Parkland coffee shop, Pierce County sheriff’s spokesman Ed Troyer said.

Police had surrounded the home late Sunday night and Troyer said the search of the house finished shortly after 7 a.m. Officers searched with a robot before SWAT officers moved in.

There is a $125,000 reward for information leading to Clemmons’ capture.

Clemmons was shot and perhaps seriously wounded by one of the slain officers Sunday morning, Troyer said.

“He has suffered a gunshot wound,” Troyer said at a media briefing held just before 3 a.m.

Police know that Clemmons was wounded because they have detained other people — Troyer wouldn’t say how many — who helped Clemmons after the shootings.

At the briefing, Troyer said police now consider Clemmons a suspect, rather than merely a “person of interest.”

Police don’t know the severity of Clemmons’ wound, and Troyer said he may already be dead.

Investigators have no indication that Clemmons had a motive aimed specifically at any of the particular officers who were gunned down, Troyer said.

“He was upset about being incarcerated,” Troyer said. “He was just targeting cops.”

A trailer on the property where police first thought Clemmons was hiding was empty when officers entered it early this morning.

A short time earlier, they had issued an ultimatum for anyone inside the trailer to come out, but got no response.

That was followed by a series of flash-bangs, distraction devices which can temporarily blind a suspect. Discharges of what appeared to be tear gas followed.

SWAT teams and police negotiators had surrounded the house at East Yesler Way and 32nd Avenue South earlier in the day based on tips given to police.

Police responded to the home around 8:44 p.m. Sunday. A woman who was leaving the home was stopped by officers and told them Clemmons was on the property and bleeding.

The woman told police that someone had dropped Clemmons off at his aunt’s home, on East Superior Street.

Clemmons’ sister, Latanya Clemmons, said Sunday night she was near her aunt’s house waiting to see what happens. She also said she and her cousin, Cicely, were trying to call their aunt and Maurice in the house but they were getting no answer.

Police told residents to stay inside and keep their doors locked.

The series of events leading up to the house in Leschi began more than 16 hours earlier at an upscale coffee shop in Parkland, Pierce County, a hangout for officers that became the scene of the deadliest attack on law enforcement in state history.

Four officers were shot and killed at 8:15 a.m. as they worked on their laptops at Forza Coffee Company in Parkland. The first two officers were “flat-out executed,” while the third tried to stop the gunman and the fourth fired at him, Pierce County sheriff’s spokesman Ed Troyer said.

Those killed were identified as Sgt. Mark Renninger, 39, and officers Ronald Owens, 37, Tina Griswold, 40, and Gregory Richards, 42.

Clemmons has a long criminal record in Arkansas and Washington. He was released from custody in Pierce County just a week ago, and was facing a charge of “abducting” a child. Family members described him as being in a state of mental deterioration. Last spring, he was also accused of punching a sheriff’s deputy in the face.

Sunday’s shootings came as officers from across the state were still coming to terms with last month’s ambush-slaying of Seattle police Officer Timothy Brenton. The two incidents do not appear related, police said.

The coffee shop, in a strip mall across the street from McChord Air Force Base, is favored by officers from several nearby jurisdictions.

Troyer said the scruffy-looking gunman entered the shop, walked past the officers and three or four other customers, and approached the counter.

A young barista asked the man if she could help him, according to Humberto Navarrete, 51, who lives nearby and later spoke to the barista. The man stared at the barista without saying a word and then opened his coat, revealing a handgun, Navarrete said.

The barista and another female barista on duty ran out the back, according to Navarrete. The gunman turned and started shooting at the officers, he said, quoting the women.

“This was a targeted, selective ambush,” Troyer said.

The officers, who made up one patrol unit, were regulars at the coffee shop. They were wearing bulletproof vests and were preparing to start their day shift, Troyer said.

The first two officers apparently had no time to react. The third officer stood up and tried to go for the gunman before being shot, Troyer said. The fourth officer struggled with the gunman, wrestled him out the door and managed to fire off some shots before he, too, was killed, Troyer said.

(Source: Seattle Times)

4 Responses

  1. Police said this afternoon that based on interviews with family and friends who have been assisting the man, they believe him to still be alive. May Hashem deliver the beast into the hands of the police and may he be brought to true justice.

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