Posted on November 30, 2009

4 Lakewood Officers Slain; Ex-Con Sought for Questioning

Jonathan Martin, Seattle Times, November 29, 2009

A 37-year-old Tacoma man, Maurice Clemmons, is being sought for questioning in the execution-style shooting of four Lakewood police officers this morning, according to law-enforcement officials.

Clemmons was identified as a person of interest in the slayings, but not as a suspect.

Pierce County sheriff’s spokesman Ed Troyer said Clemmons had been seen in the area of the shootings at the time they occurred.

Clemmons, who was recently released from jail, has an extensive criminal record in Pierce County and Arkansas, court records show. He currently faces eight criminal charges in Washington state.

The four officers were killed at about 8:15 a.m. by a scruffy-looking man who walked into a coffee shop and opened fire. The officers–three men and one woman–were found dead by deputies who arrived at Forza Coffee at 11401 Steele St. S., Troyer said.

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Troyer said the investigation into the shootings indicate that the gunman “flat-out executed” two of the officers. One officer then stood up, tried to go for the gunman and was shot, Troyer said.

The fourth officer was involved in some kind of struggle with the gunman.

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Before that fourth officer was killed, Troyer said, he apparently managed to fire at the shooter.

Troyer said if the gunman was shot, he could be traveling some distance to get care. Troyer suggested the man may try to visit a medical facility and claim he had suffered an accidental gunshot wound.

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The officers were in uniform, including bulletproof vests, and were working on their laptop computers as they prepared to start their day shifts, Troyer said.

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The gunman was described as a black man in his 20s or 30s, between 5-feet-7 inches and 5-feet-10-inches, and ran north on Steele Street South after the shooting. He was wearing a black coat over a gray hooded sweat shirt and bluejeans, Troyer said.

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