Maurice Clemmons, Alleged Cop Killer, Dead
Former British Prime Minister John Major poses for photographers as he arrives to give evidence to the Leveson inquiry at the Royal Courts of Justice in central London, Tuesday, June 12, 2012. The Leveson inquiry is Britain's media ethics probe that was set up in the wake of the scandal over phone hacking at Rupert Murdoch's News of the World, which was shut in July 2011 after it became clear that the tabloid had systematically broken the law. / AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis
The man suspected of four police officers in a suburban coffee shop was shot and killed by a lone Seattle patrol officer investigating a stolen car early Tuesday, a sheriff's spokesman said. Four other people were arrested for allegedly helping the suspect elude authorities during a massive two-day manhunt.
Maurice Clemmons was carrying a handgun he took from one of the dead officers when a Seattle policeman recognized him near a stolen car in a working-class south Seattle neighborhood about 2:45 a.m., Assistant Police Chief Jim Pugel said.
The vehicle was running but unoccupied when the officer pulled up, radioed in the license plate number and realized the car was stolen, Pugel said.
The officer saw something moving, got out of his car, saw Clemmons and ordered him to show his hands and stop.
"He wouldn't stop," Pugel said. "The officer fired several rounds."
"This is a tragedy," said interim Seattle Police Chief John Diaz. "Nobody feels good about any of this."
After shooting him dead, police found Clemmons had a gun belonging to one of the murdered officers and a serious gunshot wound from the coffee shop shootout, reports CBS News correspondent John Blackstone.
Investigators today began arresting more than a half dozen people they say helped Clemmons run and hide.
"They tried to hide him," said Pierce County Sheriff's Department spokesman Ed Troyer. "They supplied him with cell phones. They supplied him with money. … Some are friends, some are acquaintances, some are partners in crime, some are relatives. Now they're all partners in crime."
Three people were booked into the Pierce County Jail on Monday and early Tuesday for investigation of rendering criminal assistance on four counts of first-degree murder. They are Ricky Hinton, Eddie Lee Davis and Douglas Edward Davis. Troyer said a getaway driver also was arrested. That person's identity wasn't immediately known.
On Monday, officers detained a sister of Clemmons who they think treated the suspect's gunshot wound.
"We believe she drove him up to Seattle and bandaged him up," Troyer said.
Authorities say Clemmons, 37, singled out the Lakewood officers and spared employees and other customers at a coffee shop Sunday morning in Parkland, a Tacoma suburb about 35 miles south of Seattle. He then fled, but not before he was apparently shot in the torso by one of the dying officers.
"I'm surprised that he managed to get away," Troyer said. "The officer did a good job in Lakewood."
Killed were Sgt. Mark Renninger, 39, and Officers Ronald Owens, 37, Tina Griswold, 40, and Greg Richards, 42.
Their bodies were were moved to a funeral home in a grim procession today, Blackstone reports.
The officer who shot Clemmons was not injured, Pugel said.
Police said they aren't sure what prompted Clemmons to shoot the four officers, who were in uniform and working on paperwork at the coffee shop just two blocks outside their jurisdiction.
"The only motive that we have is he decided he was going to go kill police officers," Troyer said. He said Clemmons talked the night before the shooting about killing a group of cops and watching the news.
Clemmons was released on bail just a week ago even though a psychological report in October warned that he was dangerous, Blackstone reports. He told psychiatrists he had "visualizations of people drinking blood and people eating babies."
Police believe Clemmons chose the coffee shop because it was frequented by police officers from various agencies.
"We do not believe that the Lakewood officers were actually targeted other than that they were police officers in that location at the time where he knew he could find police officers."
Police surrounded a house in a Seattle neighborhood late Sunday following a tip Clemmons had been dropped off there. After an all-night siege, a SWAT team entered the home and . But police said Clemmons had been there.
Authorities in two states were criticized amid revelations that Clemmons was allowed to walk the streets despite a teenage crime spree in Arkansas that landed him an 108-year prison sentence. He was released early after then-Gov. Mike Huckabee commuted his sentence.
Huckabee cited Clemmons' youth in granting the request. But Clemmons quickly reverted to his criminal past, violated his parole and was returned to prison. He was released again in 2004.
"This guy should have never been on the street," said Brian D. Wurts, president of the police union in Lakewood. "Our elected officials need to find out why these people are out."
Conservative bloggers added to the criticism of Huckabee today, but Huckabee fought back today, saying, "people use anything for a political weapon."
Huckabee said on Fox News Channel's "The O'Reilly Factor" Monday night that Clemmons was allowed back on the street because prosecutors failed to file paperwork in time.
Pulaski County Prosecutor Larry Jegley, whose office opposed Clemmons' parole in 2000 and 2004, said Huckabee's comments were "red herrings."
"My word to Mr. Huckabee is man up and own what you did," Jegley said.
Clemmons was charged in Washington state earlier this year with assaulting a police officer and raping a child, and investigators in the sex case said he was motivated by visions that he was Jesus Christ and that the world was on the verge of the apocalypse.
A psychological evaluation conducted in October found he was a risk to public safety, but not a bad enough risk to justify committing him, The News Tribune of Tacoma reported.
The confidential report acquired by the newspaper was ordered by a Pierce County Superior Court judge to determine whether Clemmons was competent to stand trial on the rape and assault charges. He was found competent and was released from jail after posting bail with the assistance of Jail Sucks Bail Bonds.
At the time of his arrest, he allegedly made "religiously-themed comments, 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 the evaluation.
Among them, the slain officers left behind nine children. Many at a memorial to the slain officers didn't know those murdered personally and merely came to pay their respects, Blackstone reports. But at least one man came because he said officer Tina Griswold put him on the right track growing up.
"I was a bad apple but Ms. Griswold is one of the people that made sour apples good," said mourner Ralph Jackson.
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