Not a terrorist (thebigbadbutch) wrote in ontd_political,
Not a terrorist

Tacoma Suspect Is Killed by Police Officer

SEATTLE — A man suspected of fatally shooting four uniformed police officers was shot and killed early Tuesday by a Seattle police officer who chanced upon him during a routine patrol.

The death of the suspect, Maurice Clemmons, 37, capped a huge manhunt that had fanned out through Seattle over the last two days as scores of police chased the trail of the suspect. Police officials said Mr. Clemmons had been carrying a gun that had belonged to one of the four officers, who were killed at a coffee shop near Tacoma Sunday morning.

In an interview, the city’s interim police chief, John Diaz, said a Seattle officer had been patrolling a working-class neighborhood in south Seattle around 2:45 a.m. when he came across an empty car on the street, its engine idling and its hood raised. The officer called in a report on the vehicle, which turned out to be stolen. He was sitting in his patrol cruiser, writing up paperwork, when he saw Mr. Clemmons approaching from behind.

The officer, a seven-year veteran, recognized Mr. Clemmons “immediately,” Mr. Diaz said, and noticed that the suspect was trying to pull something from one of his pockets. He ordered Mr. Clemmons to put his hands up, but he refused and began to move away from the officer. The officer shot at least twice, Mr. Diaz said. Mr. Clemmons was pronounced dead at the scene.

“It’s not the way we wanted it to end,” Mr. Diaz said.

The name of the officer who shot Mr. Clemmons was not released; he will be placed on administrative leave until a hearing on the use of force is held. Such a hearing is customary in this kind of situation, Mr. Diaz said, adding that it appeared that the officer had acted appropriately.

“He was in fear of his life,” Mr. Diaz said. “He was telling him, ‘Put your hands up,’ and he wasn’t doing it.”

Mr. Clemmons had a lengthy criminal history, including pending felony charges of raping a 12-year-old relative and assaulting police officers. He was released on bail last week.

The police said Mr. Clemmons had already been shot in the abdomen by one of the four officers who were killed Sunday morning, but he continued to elude the authorities on Monday. Throughout the day, the police pursued a confusing range of tips that he had been seen in several places across Seattle, from a park in the Beacon Hill neighborhood to the University of Washington.

Officials posted a bulletin on Twitter saying the suspect could be in the university district and urging students to be alert. Later in the day, the police said they were looking for a green 1997 Mazda Millenia and were monitoring the state’s borders, but that search was soon called off.

The police offered a reward of $125,000 for information leading to Mr. Clemmons’s capture.

Earlier Monday, after a tip from Pierce County investigators, Seattle police officials believed that they had cornered Mr. Clemmons in a house in the city’s Leschi neighborhood. After officers surrounded the house, flooded it with spotlights and sent a robot to approach it, SWAT teams entered, only to find that he was not there, said Detective Mark Jamieson, a spokesman for the Seattle Police Department.

“We have more concrete evidence that the suspect was at that location,” Detective Jamieson said. “We don’t know if he was in the house, but he was seen at that location.”

The four officers were killed Sunday morning at a coffee shop in Lakewood as they worked on laptops preparing for a patrol shift. Officials have said there was evidence that one of them chased the gunman outside as he fled and fired shots, striking the suspect before dying of gunshot wounds.

In 2000, Gov. Mike Huckabee of Arkansas granted clemency to Mr. Clemmons after he had served 11 years of a 95-year sentence for robbery and burglary convictions on charges prosecuted when he was 17. That history continued to play a role in his prosecution in Washington this year, Pierce County prosecutors said.

After Mr. Clemmons was arrested in Pierce County in May on charges of assaulting officers who were investigating claims that he had broken neighbors’ windows with rocks, Arkansas issued a warrant for his arrest for violating conditions of his parole, said Stephen Penner, a deputy prosecuting attorney in Pierce County.

Mr. Clemmons was initially held without bail on the Arkansas warrant. In July, an Arkansas corrections official sent a letter revoking the hold and saying “appropriate action will be taken once the pending charges have been adjudicated.”

Without the hold from Arkansas, Mr. Penner said, the State Constitution allowed Mr. Clemmons the right to bail while the rape and assault charges were pending. He was released on $190,000 bail on Nov. 23, Mr. Penner said.

A spokeswoman for the Arkansas Department of Community Correction said officials there issued a second warrant for Mr. Clemmons in October, but it was not immediately clear whether that warrant had the power to prevent his release.

The officers who were killed were Tina Griswold, 40; Ronald Owens, 37; Sgt. Mark Renninger, 39; and Greg Richards, 42. All left behind children and families, and they were mourned at makeshift memorials at the Lakewood Police Department, at a church vigil in Tacoma and on various Web sites, including Facebook.

“We’re a young department,” Chief Bret Farrar said at a news conference on Monday. “We put this department together in 2004. The four we lost yesterday were original members of the department. They were good people, they were great officers, and we will all miss them very much.”

Lisa Price, who helped hire Officer Richards in his previous job at the Kent Police Department, said he turned to policing in 2001 at a later age than many new officers, giving him “a good mix of maturity and insight.” She said he took the Lakewood job because it seemed to hold more stability, as Kent was considering layoffs.

Brian D. Wurts, president of the Lakewood Police Independent Guild, described Officer Owens on the guild’s Web site as “the laid-back, dirt-bike-riding, surfer-hair-having cop you would always want at a party or with you on any call. Though he had a laid-back perspective, he was sharp and an extremely dedicated and hard worker.”

Sergeant Renninger served in the Army and was based at nearby Fort Lewis before becoming a police officer in the 1990s in Tukwila, a Seattle suburb. He grew up in Pennsylvania, where his brother, Matt, is also a police officer. On a Facebook page created in his honor, a former colleague in Tukwila recalled “that thick, Philly-type accent of his.”

On the guild Web site, Mr. Wurts said Officer Griswold had two children “and a husband who loves her deeply.” He recalled her as a spirited conservative who loved to talk politics and, if challenged, “would tell you where you could go.”

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