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Suspected police killer shot dead, area sheriff says

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2009-12-01

The man suspected of killing four policemen in the state of Washington has been shot and killed by Seattle police, an area sheriff said. Maurice Clemmons, a convicted felon, allegedly ambushed the officers in a coffee shop over the weekend.

AFP - Police on Tuesday killed a man alleged to have shot dead four police officers in the northwestern state of Washington, an area sheriff's department spokesman said.
  
Pierce County Sheriff's Office spokesman Ed Troyer said the suspect, convicted felon Maurice Clemmons, was shot dead by police in a suburb of Seattle.
  
The Seattle Police Department "came in contact with the suspect" early Tuesday, Troyer told CNN.
  
"When they came in contact with the suspect, shots were fired and the suspect was shot and killed," Troyer said.
  
All four officers, members of the fledgling Lakewood Police Department founded in 2004, were married with children.
  
Authorities missed an earlier opportunity to apprehend Clemmons on Monday, after he eluded a police dragnet at his home in Seattle's Leschi neighborhood.
  
After waiting for 11 hours outside the house where he was believed holed up, the house was found to be empty and police continued their search for Clemmons, who was believed to be armed and dangerous.
  
A 125,000 dollars reward was offered for information leading to Clemmons's arrest.
  
Police said Clemmons had been wounded by return fire after he ambushed four police officers with a handgun in a coffee shop early Sunday near McChord Air Force base in Tacoma, south of Seattle.
  
Lakewood city officials and police said they were struggling to come to terms with the attack on Monday.
  
"What happened yesterday was an outrageous, senseless act of violence," Lakewood city manager Andrew Neiditz told reporters. "Yesterday our hearts were broken but our resolve was not."
  
"We will get through this," Lakewood police chief Bret Farrar added, his voice wavering with emotion. "However, it is a tough time for us and the families of our fallen officers.
  
Troyer earlier said the shootings may have been motivated by Clemmons' hatred of law enforcement. He was released on bail just last week, after being held for several months on charges of assaulting a police officer and child rape.
  
Troyer said it did not appear that Clemmons had a specific reason for targeting the officers involved, saying he was "upset about being incarcerated.
  
"He was just targeting cops," Troyer said.
  
Clemmons served only part of a 35-year prison sentence in Arkansas before it was commuted in 2000 by then-governor Mike Huckabee, who sought the Republican presidential nomination in 2008.
  
After his release Clemmons committed two armed robberies and a string of other crimes which earned him another 10 year sentence. He was later paroled and moved to Washington state.
  
Huckabee said in a statement Sunday that if Clemmons was responsible for the shootings "it will be the result of a series of failures in the criminal justice system in both Arkansas and Washington State."
  
However, a victim of a 1989 street robbery involving Clemmons expressed incredulity that he had been released.
  
"I'm flabbergasted," Karen Hodge, 68, told the Seattle Post Intelligencer. "He should still be in prison."

Date created : 2009-12-01

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