4 Cops Shot, Shooter Shot Dead @ 3AM

?? - posted on 12/01/2009 ( 6 moms have responded )




SEATTLE - A lone officer on patrol in the middle of the night Tuesday spotted a car reported stolen, its hood up and engine running, and pulled over to check it out. As the patrolman sat in his cruiser, a burly man with a large mole on his cheek came up from behind.

The officer turned and instantly recognized the most wanted man in the Pacific Northwest — the ex-con accused of gunning down four cops at a coffee shop.

Moments later, Maurice Clemmons, 37, lay dead in the street, shot by the patrolman after Clemmons made a move for a gun he had taken from one of the slain officers, police said.

Clemmons' death brought to an end two days of fear across the Seattle-Tacoma area and one of the biggest manhunts the region has ever seen. Dozens of police officers milled around at the scene afterward, some solemnly shaking hands and patting each other on the back.

"Good thing he wasn't able to get the gun out here or we might have had a different ending to this whole thing," Pierce County sheriff's spokesman Ed Troyer said. "The officer in Seattle did a good job of making sure he went home safe tonight."

Clemmons eluded capture thanks to family and friends who provided him with shelter, cell phones, cash and first aid for the severe belly wound he suffered when one of the dying officers in Sunday's coffee-shop rampage got off a shot, police said. Six to seven of those associates were being arrested Tuesday.

Among them was Darcus D. Allen, identified by police as the driver of the getaway truck after the rampage. Allen, who served time in an Arkansas prison with Clemmons, was being held in Pierce County for investigation of rendering criminal assistance. Allen was sentenced to 25 years in prison for a 1990 double murder at a Little Rock liquor store. He was paroled in 2004.

Also arrested was Clemmons' sister, who bandaged Clemmons and gave him a lift to a house in Seattle, police said.

"Some are friends, some are acquaintances, some are partners in crime, some are relatives. Now they're all partners in crime," Troyer said.

Frantic search

It was not clear exactly where Clemmons was while on the run. Police rushed from place to place, following tips that often came up empty or yielded only accomplices. They searched homes and apartments around the city and cordoned off a park after a report of blood in a restroom.

On Sunday, Clemmons briefly took refuge at a house in the city's well-to-do Leschi neighborhood, slipping away before police surrounded the home in an all-night siege that ended when SWAT officers stormed the place and realized he wasn't there.

Clemmons has a violent, erratic past, and authorities in Washington state and Arkansas — where then-Gov. Mike Huckabee in 2000 commuted his 108-year prison sentence for armed robbery and other offenses — are facing tough questions about why an apparently violent and deranged man was out on the street.

On Sunday, six days after posting bail in Washington on charges of raping a child, Clemmons walked into the coffee shop in Parkland, Wash., a suburb a few miles south of Tacoma, and killed four uniformed Lakewood police officers as they caught up on paperwork on their laptops, police said.

"The only motive that we have is he decided he was going to go kill police officers," Troyer said. Investigators also reported that Clemmons told others the night before the shooting that he was going to kill police and they should watch the news, but they wrote it off as "crazy-talk."

In a statement posted on the conservative Newsmax.com Web site, Huckabee said: "I take full responsibility for my actions of nine years ago. I acted on the facts presented to me in 2000. If I could have possibly known what Clemmons would do nine years later, I obviously would have made a different decision. But if the same file was presented to me today, I would have likely made the same decision."

The Seattle patrol officer who killed Clemmons, Benjamin L. Kelly, 39, a seven-year law enforcement veteran, will be placed on leave, which is standard procedure after a shooting.

The officer was driving in a working-class neighborhood of south Seattle at about 2:45 a.m. when he came across a stolen car, its engine running, Assistant Seattle Police Chief Jim Pugel said.

As he sat in his cruiser, beginning paperwork on the car, he sensed movement, turned and saw someone approaching, Pugel said. The officer stepped out and immediately recognized the man, whose face had been all over TV and mugshot fliers memorized by every officer in the region.

The patrolman ordered Clemmons to freeze and show his hands, but he kept moving, and the officer fired several rounds, hitting the man at least twice, Pugel said.

Police said Clemmons would have died eventually of the gunshot wound he suffered in the coffee-shop rampage.

At the time of his arrest in Washington state earlier this year, investigators said Clemmons had visions that he was Jesus Christ and that the world was on the verge of the apocalypse. He also "told the officer President Obama and Lebron James are his brothers, Oprah (Winfrey) is his sister and referred to himself as 'the beast,"' according to court papers obtained by The News Tribune of Tacoma.

A psychological evaluation in October found he was a risk to public safety, but not enough of one to justify committing him, the newspaper reported.

The slain officers were Sgt. Mark Renninger, 39, and Officers Ronald Owens, 37, Tina Griswold, 40, and Greg Richards, 42.

A memorial to honor them will be held next Tuesday in the Tacoma Dome. More than 20,000 members of the law enforcement community, emergency response agencies and the public are expected to attend.


Should the officer tried to shoot him where he could possibly have lived and been tried for what he did? It says he would have died eventually from the previous gunshot wound but I wonder if he had gotten medical care he probably would have lived. He definitely didn't deserve any mercy. What are your thoughts?


View replies by

Traci - posted on 12/02/2009




Absolutely not. When you are an officer, you shoot to kill. You shoot so that at the end of the day YOU are the one coming home to your family. In such a fast paced situation you cannot decide whether or not you are aiming for an arm or a leg or a torso. It is wrong and impossible to ask officers to do that. If a situation necessitates the use of a weapon, deadly force is what can and should be expected.

Shannon Cassidy- - posted on 12/02/2009




If that Officer did not do what he was trained to do in that situation There would have been 5 cops dead instead of 4, One more family would have been torn apart. May those Policeofficers R.I.P. and I Pray for comfort and piece of mind for their families now that he is gone. Although they will proboly never have true piece.

September - posted on 12/02/2009




I live in Seattle and this is the talk of the town right now. I think that the cop did what he felt he needed to do. It's truly a sad situation in all aspects. In my opinion I think that the media needs to back off a bit, it's really out there right now and I feel bad for the families that are grieving. Just a constant reminder of that very sad sad day!

Esther - posted on 12/02/2009




I'm not a cop for a reason because I do not have the guts to face situations like this one. I'm very grateful that there are those that do. Honestly, if I had been there by myself at night and I faced this guy who just shot 4 officers precisely because they were officers, I would not have asked him to put his hands up, I would not have asked any other questions either, I would not have aimed for his leg, I probably would have aimed for his face & pulled the trigger. I cannot imagine what that must have felt like for this officer. I think in general cops should be held to a higher standard in terms of pulling the trigger than your average citizen since they did choose a profession where they willingly accept this kind of risk, but on a purely human level, I don't blame him in the least for shooting to kill.

Mary - posted on 12/02/2009




I think he had no choice but to shoot him...the man had already murdered 4 cops, and he was armed...they found a gun on him (one he had stolen from one his victims).
This may sound callous, but I'm glad that my tax dollars aren't being wasted to provide medical care for this criminal, as well as all the $$ that a trial would require. More importantly, I'm glad that the families of of those four policemen don't have to go through the added trauma that a long, drawn out trial would bring.

Debbie - posted on 12/01/2009




It would have been good to see him spend time for the murders etc but I feel that if this officer didn't shoot him then he may have been another one to the list.

Join Circle of Moms

Sign up for Circle of Moms and be a part of this community! Membership is just one click away.

Join Circle of Moms