Update: Lakewood PD murders “person of interest” now “suspect”

ORIGINAL 6:10 PM REPORT: A new development in the search for the man who killed four Lakewood Police officers in a Pierce County coffee shop this morning: Authorities have gone public with the photo at left, saying that 37-year-old Maurice Clemmons is a “person of interest” with whom they want to speak in connection with the deadly ambush. The Seattle Times (WSB partner) has a story about his lengthy criminal history; he is reported to have been in jail until posting bond six days ago, facing charges including child rape. If you have any information about him, the official tip line is 1-866-977-2362. The four murdered officers also have just been identified – here’s the official announcement. The Lakewood Police union’s site has info on how to help their families. 9:00 PM: From left, Officer Tina Griswold, Officer Ronald Owens, Sgt. Mark Renninger, Officer Greg Richards.

9:48 PM: The search for the person of interest has expanded to Seattle – the Leschi neighborhood (which also, you may recall, is the area where SPD Officer Tim Brenton was killed). 12:42 AM: Real-time updates continue courtesy of our fellow independent neighborhood-news service, Central District News, at centraldistrictnews.com. We’re continuing to monitor and will update when there’s something major but otherwise, CD News is where to get the moment-by-moment. 3:10 AM: A briefing at the scene of the Leschi standoff – now in its 7th hour – has yielded new information, including Maurice Clemmons‘ description changing from “person of interest” to “suspect” – this, authorities say, because he was shot. They don’t know if he’s dead or alive. CD News is continuing to add updates to this report. 9:04 AM: He wasn’t there after all. Now the search has moved on to the U-District; here’s the latest from the Times – and the warning to people at the UW is confirmed by a WSB’er who sent us the e-mail alert that went around, saying simply, “Lakeland shooting suspect may be in University area. Police responding. Be alert.” 10 AM: That search is said to have been called off, but there’s another one under way in Beacon Hill.

25 Replies to "Update: Lakewood PD murders "person of interest" now "suspect""

  • Ms Evelyn November 29, 2009 (6:52 pm)

    My soul is absolutely sick over this horrific situation! Words cannot express the sadness that I feel for the officers, their families, friends and fellow law enforcement members. It seems so unbelievable that this type of loss is happening to us again after so recently losing our own officer for the SPD. I pray that they indeed get the man that caused this tragedy and sooner rather than later…

  • PSPS November 29, 2009 (8:07 pm)

    According to The Seattle Times and The (Arkansas) Leader, Clemmons is one of many violent repeat felons Mike Huckabee pardoned while governor. (Huckabee announced earlier today that he won’t be running in 2012. Now we know why.)
    One thing that bothers me about this is why four cops were in a public coffee shop doing work that they should be doing at the station. Drinking a cup of coffee of having lunch is one thing, but congregating and concentrating on your laptop at a coffee shop is another.
    This is a terrible tragedy and I hope some policy changes are implemented because of it.

  • CB November 29, 2009 (8:10 pm)

    Yea so much for that 2012 run for president, Mr. Huckabee.

  • JanS November 29, 2009 (8:19 pm)

    they were about to start their shift..might as well do what they need to do at a coffee shop as well as the station. They WERE NOT doing something wrong – it was said that this is a very popular place for Lakewood police to meet up. Please don’t insinuate that they somehow were at fault for what happened today. Save that for three weeks from now after the families have grieved, and save it for private conversations. Nine children lost fathers and mother today…3 spouses lost a mate…one former spouse was left to raise a child by herself. And a whole 1/10 of the Lakewood police department was lost. That’s what we need to know.

    We don’t need to speculate…we need to respect…

  • WSB November 29, 2009 (8:19 pm)

    PSPS – As has been discussed at some Crime Prevention Council meetings when precinct leaders do Q/A, officers have been asked to do their reports, when possible, in a place where they’re publicly visible. I can’t speak to Lakewood policy, obviously, but this came up when there were public meetings discussing the Alki shooting last May, and visibility of police on Alki afterward – you might see an officer in her/his cruiser writing a report instead of going back to the station, it was explained.
    And there are coffee breaks, too … we just came home, driving past a West Seattle coffee shop where we’ve seen three or four officers together on occasion for a while in the evening, cars visible outside, nearby (not recently though) … and I said as we drove by, “That’s what I kept thinking about after hearing the news this morning, the times we’ve seen officers in there, just taking a break” … sadly, I suspect you are right, and that sort of thing (officers spending a few moments’ downtime in a public place like that) won’t happen again any time soon.

  • dawsonct November 29, 2009 (8:23 pm)

    There are nine children going to bed tonight never to see their fathers or mother again.

    That is so incredibly sad.
    I don’t know how the families of law enforcement personnel maintain their sanity.

  • Ms Evelyn November 29, 2009 (8:40 pm)

    My deepest condolences to all of them touched by this tragedy. Which is not only the families, friends and coworkers it is all of us. Life is never quite as sweet after these types of losses.

    I will never forget these officers and this tragedy!

    Bless them…

  • curlyq November 29, 2009 (8:41 pm)

    The day of the service for Officer Brenton, I was in Westwood Village Starbuck’s and saw two police officers having their coffee break. I did what my husband and I have started to do on occasion–went over to thank them for their service. One was a King County Sheriff and the other from the Burien Police–patrolling our city so their Seattle colleagues could attend the service. I tried to give them each a Starbuck’s giftcard, but they politely declined as it is against policy (made sense once I thought about it).
    We take our police and our whole safety infrastructure for granted. They (and their loved ones) make sacrifices and take risks on a daily basis.
    Please, next time you see an officer, thank them.

  • Tito Titus November 29, 2009 (8:57 pm)

    WHATEVER has happened to us!? What IS happening to us? Is our society entering a Columbia/Mexico phase?

  • sacatosh November 29, 2009 (9:29 pm)

    My heart is with those who lost loved ones today. In addition, please don’t forget about those who were working in or patronizing the coffee shop at the time. The recovery from this trauma will be long, difficult, and very expensive.

  • OP November 29, 2009 (9:40 pm)

    5 cops Puget Sound cops murdered/executed in less than a month. The world can be a cruel and dark place. May God watch over and comfort the fallen’s families.

  • pam November 29, 2009 (9:49 pm)

    Why aren’t we going after the judges who release these criminals????? Why is bail set so low for repeat offenders?? Judges should be held accountable. It’s all so sad and frustrating.

  • Nancy Drew November 29, 2009 (9:54 pm)

    This is a real tragedy, and it really stinks. At the very least, I hope the next time some right-wing blowhole want to go on about Democrats being ‘soft of crime’, they’ll put a sock in it and realize they have no lock on being the ‘party of Law and Order’. I’m not surprised that it seems like more bad guys think it’s ‘open season’ on cops because they have some contrived sense of grievance against them. Police work isn’t easy, and it’s made harder by the public’s increasing tendency to second-guess everything they do, and base an opinion of ‘police brutality’ on a few seconds of video taken out of context. The only way to put a stop to this is to make any violent act against a police officer automatic hard time.

  • sad day November 29, 2009 (10:10 pm)

    Sincerest condolences to the families of the fallen.

    The truth is – and I am part of a police family – with the economy the way it is prisons are bleeding people like this. Look at California — Federal judges order California to release 43,000 inmates (http://articles.latimes.com/2009/aug/05/local/me-prisons5). The system is broken.

    I never like to fear monger, nor be particularly prison building-friendly. But people don’t really understand the gravity of this situation we have here. Hardened criminals like this person are being let loose all over the place ALL THE TIME. And SPD, for example, still has staffing levels of the 1970s when the city has tripled in size.

    I hope that I am wrong about this situation. I want it to be random and never happen again. I want us to all be safe from the violent offenders. But it is my feel that more dangerous crime is on the way as the economy dives and our aged systems crumble. It’s time we took a good hard look.

  • Ken November 29, 2009 (11:08 pm)

    The house they currently have surrounded, where they think this guy is hiding, is only 3 blocks away from where Officer Brenton was murdered last month (and a long ways from south Pierce County, where today’s shootings occurred). It’ll be interesting to find out whether that’s just a pure coincidence, or something more.

  • Trick November 30, 2009 (1:02 am)

    Souds like they’re going in.
    Warned of loud noises coming up.

  • clark5080 November 30, 2009 (1:07 am)

    There is more to it than just Huckabee
    “This commutation making him parole eligible and was paroled by the parole board once they determined he met the conditions at that time. He was arrested later for parole violation and taken back to prison to serve his full term, but prosecutors dropped the charges that would have held him.
    Plus even thought there was a warrant for his arrest for parole violations back east he was released in Washington a few days ago because he made bail.


  • ed November 30, 2009 (8:11 am)

    sounds like the Times and Tacoma News Tribune is saying that suspect is no longer in the house?

  • WSB November 30, 2009 (9:04 am)

    Yup – catching up the story now. He wasn’t there when they finally went in. – TR

  • jiggers November 30, 2009 (10:19 am)

    Off the top of my head here..It would be in his best interest to turn himself in to the right authorities before any police actually catch up with him. Revenge will be on the mindset of other cops if they get their hands on him first. If they do get to him first, he won’t live long see a fair trial gauranteed. Another scenario is that he may just waste himself in a motel room and save us millions of dollars in tax money to keep him alive while filing appeal after appeal in only helping defense attorney’s make money in this highly publicized case.

  • The Hepcat November 30, 2009 (11:53 am)

    Can we please leave the politics out of this situation for now? Yes, I lean right of center, but this is not the time to point fingers at something the Gov. of Arkansas did years ago. These brave officers will never kiss their children goodnight, or keep the bad guys away from us anymore. We’ve lost 5 officers in less than a month. We should be mourning their loss, and contributing to their loved ones who will never see them again, as well as the employees of the coffee shop who will live with this tragedy for the rest of their lives.

  • UWMC November 30, 2009 (12:03 pm)

    The UW Police have updated their Campus Alert message: http://emergency.washington.edu/

    Update on search for Lakewood shooting suspect
    Posted at 11:54 am on Monday, November 30, 2009
    Last Updated at 11:54 am on Monday, November 30, 2009

    This morning at 7:00 a.m., a Metro bus driver reported dropping off a rider resembling the suspect in the Lakewood police shootings at University Way, N.E. and N.E. 40th St. University Police were notified and a UW Alert message was sent alerting the campus community to the possible danger. Seattle Police responded and began a search of the area, along with UW Police, who also began a search of campus buildings, starting in west campus. As of 11:00 a.m., there has been no further sighting of the suspect, who is reported to be suffering from a gunshot wound, is armed and very dangerous. You are urged to be alert, cautious, and aware of your surroundings as you move about campus today. If you see someone resembling the suspect, please call 911 immediately.

  • Terry November 30, 2009 (2:09 pm)

    This gutless coward should have been in jail forever. I hope this lesson isn’t lost the next time we choose to rehabilitate a violent criminal by simply setting them free to see what happens.

  • curlyq November 30, 2009 (2:47 pm)

    Hepcat, even though I lean well left of center, I agree with you. It’s a little too convenient for people to blame Huckabee because he’s a Republican. If it had been a Democratic governor who pardoned him, the other side would be shouting. We need to focus our energies on compassion for the loved ones of the fallen and solutions for our criminal justice system, not political finger-pointing.

  • Hannah Eison December 1, 2009 (12:56 pm)

    As an Officers wife, I can only pray and support the families of these fallen brothers. They must live the nightmare that we all fear.

    Since when did it become open season on cops?!

    It is the system with its stupid programs that “cure” & “rehabilitate” these crimnals and let them go. Don’t blame Huckabee, he was just following and doing what the system told him to, as horribly wrong as it was.

Sorry, comment time is over.