Seattle police kill suspect in Lakewood police officer slayings

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by KING Staff and Associated Press

KING5.com

Posted on December 1, 2009 at 5:07 AM

Updated Thursday, Dec 3 at 9:53 PM

Maurice Clemmons shot, killed

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SEATTLE -  The man suspected of gunning down four Lakewood police officers in a suburban coffee shop was shot and killed by a lone patrolman investigating a stolen car early Tuesday. 

The back-up poured in from every direction, but by the time police filled the narrow street with cruisers and other emergency vehicles, the danger was over.

The Seattle police officer, perhaps Maurice Clemmons' next intended victim, allowed his training and instincts to take over.

"He detected some movement behind him, got out of his car, says he recognized the person," said Assistant Seattle Police Chief Jim Pugel.

A revised police statement and witness accounts describe the encounter this way.

The officer stopped to check out a vehicle with its hood open and running and determined it was stolen. While seated in the patrol car filling out paperwork, he sensed someone approaching and got out of the car to face him.

Pugel said the height, weight, age and facial mole "appeared to be just like the person being broadcast as the possible suspect."

After Clemmons ignored the officers demand to show his hands, the officer reached for his pistol.

Clemmons reportedly reached toward his wasteline. The officer fired repeatedly.

At least two of the shots struck Clemmons, who police say moved around behind the police car and fell into the walkway of a home.

The suspect was declared dead at the scene. Ed Troyer, a spokesman for the Pierce County sheriff, confirmed Clemmons had a gun that belonged to one of the slain Lakewood officers.

"We're very happy the Seattle police officer is alive," said Troyer. "We know this guy knows how to use a weapon; it's pretty evident by what happened down in Pierce County. Good thing he wasn't able to get the gun out here, or we might have had a different ending to this whole thing."

Police were talking to people who saw or heard the confrontation. One of the witnesses said she was awakened by noise outside her home.

"It sounded like pops, like gunshots is what we thought," she said. "We saw cops coming, running with guns drawn through here, with a couple of guys with the SWAT shields."

That's how it ended, but 90 minutes before, nearby resident Harvey Lagon looked out his window and saw a man speeding away from his home. What he didn't know is that a career criminal had just stolen his family's car. He did know that the career criminal has just stolen a mechanical problem.

"Sometimes it dies, so I guess it died on him, which is good a thing to happen," said Lagon.

Officers Memorial next Tuesday at Tacoma Dome

A memorial to honor slain Lakewood Police Officers Mark Renninger, Ronald Owens, Tina Griswold and Greg Richards will be held Tuesday, Dec. 8 at 1 p.m. in the Tacoma Dome.

More than 20,000 members of the law enforcement community, emergency response agencies and the public are expected to attend. More information will follow regarding the procession and the ceremony.

The City of Lakewood has received numerous calls from generous residents, agencies and businesses wanting to help. Anyone interested in making a donation, volunteering or just wanting more information should e-mail lakewoodmemorialservice@gmail.com.

Donations for the officers' families are being accepted by the Lakewood Police Independent Guild Fund at P.O. Box 99579, Lakewood, WA, 98499 or you can visit www.lpig.us for more information or to donate online.

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