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Police: Suspect dead, had slain cop's gun

Maurice Clemmons was sought in the shooting deaths of four police officers in Washington state.
Maurice Clemmons was sought in the shooting deaths of four police officers in Washington state.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Police: Officer fired gun after suspect approached and reached toward waist
  • Maurice Clemmons had been sought in killings of four police officers
  • Slain suspect had abdominal wound, victim's gun, police say
  • At least three accused of helping Clemmons elude police

Seattle, Washington (CNN) -- The suspect in Sunday's fatal shooting of four police officers was shot and killed early Tuesday by an officer after the suspect approached him and "reached into his waist area," authorities said in a statement.

Although the medical examiner has not formally identified the man shot and killed in south Seattle about 2:45 a.m., detectives recognized him as Maurice Clemmons, sought in the killings of four Lakewood, Washington, police officers shot Sunday at a coffee shop, Seattle police said in the written statement.

Pierce County Sheriff's Department spokesman Ed Troyer said earlier Tuesday that Clemmons was carrying a weapon taken from one of the slain officers and had been shot in the abdomen in Sunday's shooting at the Forza Coffee Company in Parkland, Washington. He had had stuffed gauze and cotton into the wound and put duct tape over it, Troyer said Tuesday.

Clemmons had been the subject of an intense manhunt for two days.

Two people accused of helping Clemmons evade authorities, brothers Eddie and Douglas Davis, appeared in court Tuesday. Both are charged with rendering criminal assistance, a felony. A man who police believe is the getaway car driver was also in custody, along with a second man. Neither has been charged.

The men accused of trying to help Clemmons provided medical aid, housing, a cell phone and money and were trying to get him out of the state, Troyer said earlier Tuesday. They also called in false leads to police to divert investigators.

Early Tuesday, a patrol officer saw an unoccupied car in south Seattle that was running and had its hood up, police said. He determined the car was stolen and was doing paperwork in his vehicle when he saw a man approach his patrol car from behind on the driver's side, the statement said.

The officer got out of the car and ordered the man to stop and show his hands, but the man refused, the statement said.

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"As the officer was drawing his gun, the suspect reached into his waist area and moved," the police statement said. "The officer fired several times, striking the suspect at least twice." He was pronounced dead at the scene.

The officer is a four-year member of the Seattle police force and is a military veteran, police said. He will be placed on administrative leave, which is standard procedure after a shooting involving an officer.

Authorities said they regretted the shooting death but are glad the two-day ordeal is over.

Video: Suspect in police deaths dead
Video: Suspected gunman profile
Video: Officers killed had 9 children
Gallery: Slain Washington police officers
RELATED TOPICS
  • Shootings
  • Crime
  • Seattle
  • Mike Huckabee

"Right now, it's just a feeling of relief," said Jim Pugil, the assistant Seattle police chief. "Another tragic time has come upon us, and we're just happy that it's over."

Additional arrests in the case are likely, Troyer said Tuesday.

"I am thankful the suspect in this horrible crime is no longer a threat to our community," Washington Gov. Christine Gregoire said in a statement. "I hope this provides some closure for the families and colleagues of our fallen officers. ... We should now focus our attention on providing comfort and support to those who have lost a loved one."

Clemmons had made comments before Sunday's shootings that he was going to kill some officers -- comments that were not reported to authorities until after the shootings -- but officials believe he was the lone gunman.

"We don't think anyone helped him plan this murder," Troyer said.

The manhunt for Clemmons began Sunday after the four Lakewood officers -- three men and a woman -- were gunned down while meeting at the coffee shop before their shifts began.

Clemmons was an ex-convict with a long rap sheet in Washington and Arkansas, according to authorities and documents.

Clemmons slipped away from a home in Seattle's Leschi neighborhood Sunday night before police surrounded the residence for about 12 hours. He was not found in the home when investigators moved in Monday morning, Seattle police spokesman Jeff Kappel said.

Officials said Tuesday that they missed him by mere minutes.

Clemmons was accused of child rape and assaulting a police officer in May. He had been released on $150,000 bail five days before the shootings, according to court records.

After his arrest, Clemmons' sister told police that he "had not been himself lately" and that his behavior was "unpredictable and erratic."

"He had said that the Secret Service was coming to get him because he had written a letter to the president," an affidavit quoted her as telling investigators.

In addition, neighbors had complained that he had been throwing rocks through their windows. Clemmons' wife told deputies that she and her husband had argued over a "newly discovered child," and she suggested that was why he went on his rock-throwing spree, according to an arrest affidavit.

In 2000, then-Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee commuted a prison sentence for Clemmons, according to documents from the Arkansas Department of Community Correction.

Clemmons was sentenced to 95 years, to be served consecutive to time he was already serving from previous convictions, according to the documents. In all, he faced a total of 108 years, Arkansas officials said. He returned to prison in 2001 and was paroled in 2004.

Sunday's shooting was the first for the Lakewood Police Department, which was created five years ago for the town of nearly 60,000.

The slain officers were identified as Sgt. Mark Renninger, 39; Officer Ronald Owens, 37; Officer Tina Griswold, 40; and Officer Greg Richards, 42. All of them were parents and had been with the department since its inception.

"My worst nightmare has come true," said Tiffany Ryan, Griswold's sister. "I can't tell you how painful it is to lose my sister."

Police said the gunman walked past the officers to the counter as if to order but then pulled a gun out of his coat and began shooting at 8:15 a.m. Two of the officers were "executed" as they sat at a table, Troyer said.

Another was shot when he stood up, and the fourth was shot after struggling with the gunman all the way out the door, Troyer said.

Officials said Tuesday they know which officer shot him but were withholding that information pending conclusive confirmation.

CNN's Patrick Oppmann, Dan Simon, Dave Alsup, Dina Majoli and Matt Smith contributed to this report.

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