Seattle cop killer suspect shot, killed by police early Tuesday

December 2nd, 2009 by

SEATTLE – Maurice Clemmons, the suspect wanted in the slaying of four Lakewood, Wash., police officers, was shot and killed in Seattle early Tuesday morning by a Seattle police officer making a routine check of a stolen car.

The shooting occurred about the same time as Pierce County, Wash., sheriff’s detectives took into custody a man believed to have acted as a getaway driver in Sunday’s slayings of the Lakewood officers. Police also booked four people into jail on suspicion of providing assistance to Clemmons, said sheriff’s spokesman Ed Troyer.

One of those arrested is the alleged getaway driver and is believed to be a former cellmate of Clemmons in Arkansas, according to law enforcement and KIRO-TV.

Several other people also will be taken into custody for helping Clemmons, Troyer said.

Clemmons, who was armed with a handgun taken from one of the officers he is accused of killing, was shot during a confrontation with a patrol officer, police officials said. He refused commands to stop and was shot by the officer about 2:45 a.m., the officials said.

Troyer said Clemmons had an older wound to his stomach believed to be the result of a gunshot fired by one of the Lakewood officers who was killed Sunday. Troyer said he was surprised Clemmons survived that wound.

Troyer praised the Seattle officer who shot Clemmons, saying the officer was lucky he wasn’t killed. The officer has been placed on routine administrative leave.

The officer’s name was not released, but a law-enforcement source identified him as Benjamin L. Kelly, 39, who joined the department 4 { years ago. He was not injured.

Seattle police said the officer was on routine patrol when he saw a car with the hood up and the engine running.

The officer ran the license plate and determined the car had been stolen, said Seattle Assistant Chief Jim Pugel.

The car had been reported stolen in Seattle at about 12:45 a.m., a law enforcement source said.

As the officer sat in his patrol car doing paperwork on the stolen car, he noticed a man was approaching the driver’s side of the patrol car from behind.

The officer immediately recognized the man as matching the description of Clemmons and got out of his patrol car, Pugel said.

“He ordered the person to stop. He ordered the person to show his hands. That person would not show his hands and also began to run away counterclockwise around the vehicle,” Pugel said.

The officer again told him to stop, and the man didn’t comply, Pugel said.

The officer then fired several shots at Clemmons, who was pronounced dead at the scene, officials said.

Pugel said it was unclear whether the man displayed a weapon before he was shot.

The man has been tentatively identified as Clemmons based on his description and other information, Pugel said.

A check of the serial number on the handgun found on Clemmons showed that it belonged to one of the Lakewood police officers, Pugel said.

Troyer did not identify the officer whose gun was taken.

Clemmons has been the focus of a massive manhunt since Sunday morning, when he is accused of killing four Lakewood police officers in a coffee shop in Parkland, Wash.

Troyer said Clemmons’ relatives and friends provided him with medical assistance, cell phones and money and were making arrangements to help him leave the state. Some people provided misleading information to hinder the search for Clemmons, he said.

Numerous people have helped him since Sunday’s shooting, and their roles are under investigation, Troyer said.

“We expect to have up to six or seven people in custody by the day’s end,” he said.

Officers earlier detained a sister of Clemmons who they think treated the 37-year-old suspect’s gunshot wound. She wasn’t in custody late Monday, and her name wasn’t released.

A man who may be Clemmons’ half-brother was booked into jail in Pierce County early Tuesday.

Clemmons apparently had no tie to residents on the block where he was killed, Pugel said.

Lakewood Police Chief Bret Farrar arrived at the scene a few hours after the shooting to express relief and appreciation for the work that has been done by law enforcement agencies throughout the area since Sunday’s shooting.

“I just want to thank all my brothers and sisters in law enforcement,” he said. “I just can’t say enough about what they’ve done in the last few days.”

He said the families of the dead officers have been notified of Clemmons’ death.

“What went through my mind mostly was … we can close the page on this and we can get our people together and start the healing process,” Farrar said.

Harvey Lagon, whose car was stolen, reported the theft before about 12:45 a.m. today, above five blocks from the shooting scene. Lagon was watching television when he heard a car start up and heard someone revving the engine.

“I looked out the window, and it was my car,” he said.

He did not know until contacted by a Seattle Times reporter that his car had been stolen by Clemmons.

“I’m the one who called the cops,” he said. “I was going to go after him. It’s a good thing I didn’t.”

The car is owned by his father, Rodolfo Lagon.

“I’m glad the dude got caught because I called the police. But I’m not glad the car was stolen.”

Lagon noted that sometimes the car dies.

“It’s not a very reliable car.” he said. “We only use it for short trips.”

By 8 a.m. Tuesday, hours after the shooting, more than a dozen police units remained at the scene, and officers could be scene checking out the street, sidewalk, parking strip and nearby porches looking for evidence.

At one point, a Seattle Fire Department ladder truck was brought in to hoist a police photographer high above the scene. The suspect vehicle was still in place, its hood up and passenger-side door open. A two-block section of the street remained closed.

Authorities said the gunman singled out the Lakewood officers and spared employees and other customers at the coffee shop in Parkland, a Tacoma, Wash., 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.

A memorial service for the officers will be at 1 p.m. Tuesday in Tacoma.

Troyer said that Clemmons indicated the night before the shooting “that he was going to shoot police and watch the news.”

Washington Gov. Chris Gregoire said Tuesday that she has asked the state Department of Corrections, the Department of Social and Health Services and any other state agency who had contact with Clemmons to put together for her any information the agency has on Clemmons.

In an interview with KING-TV, Gregoire said, “We will release everything we have on him. How this guy was out on our streets. I want those answers like everyone else.”

One Response

  1. ron mccarthy

    sounds like clemmons was trying to shoot another officer sneaking up from behind the officers car like that . gold badge for the officer geting the drop on that dumb ass and sending him straight hell … P.S. has bubbas feet touched the ground since he found out that the chiefs name is bret farrar

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