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Mike Huckabee Clemency: Did it Lead to Maurice Clemmons Killing Four Cops?

(AP Photo)
Photo: Mug shot of Maurice Clemmons from Pierce County Sheriff's Department.

SEATTLE (CBS/AP) As police search for Maurice Clemmons, the man suspected of gunning down four police officers in a suburban coffee shop on Sunday, many search for reasons this man, convicted for burglary and facing a child rape charge, was out on the streets. Part of the answer is that former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee pardoned him almost a decade ago.

Earlier on Monday, police believed they had Clemmons surrounded in a suburban home.

Photo: Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee in 2004.

They had said he was shot and possibly dead. Negotiators were trying to communicate with the 37-year-old using loudspeakers, explosions and even a robot to try to prod him from hiding. At one point, gunshots rang through the neighborhood, about 30 miles from the original crime scene, a coffee shop in suburban Parkland, about 35 miles south of Seattle.

But after the robot was sent into the home, police concluded that Clemmons was not there after all. Now the manhunt continues as does the soul searching.

"This is the day I've been dreading for a long time," said Pulaski County prosecutor Larry Jegley, according to the Seattle Times.

Clemmons has a long criminal history including "at least five felony convictions in Arkansas and at least eight felony charges in Washington," according to the Seattle Times.

A decade ago, Clemmons was doing hard time when his sentence was commuted by former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee.

More recently, Clemmons was arrested for allegedly assaulting a police officer in Washington. In another instance, Clemmons allegedly made his family, including young relatives, undress and parade around, according to a Pierce County sheriff's report obtained by the Seattle Times.

On Sunday morning, police believe Clemmons went to a coffee house and opened fire on four Lakewood officers, killing Sgt. Mark Renninger, 39, Ronald Owens, 37, Tina Griswold, 40, and Greg Richards, 42, as they caught up on paperwork at the beginning of their shifts. He fled but authorities believe he might have been wounded by one of his victims.

Investigators say they know of no reason that Clemmons or anyone else might have had to open fire on the four as they sat working on their laptops Sunday. Court documents indicate that Clemmons is delusional and mentally unstable.

"We're going to be surprised if there is a motive worth mentioning," said Troyer.

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