Monday, November 30, 2009

Seattle Police Do Not Have Suspected Lakewood Shooter Cornered in Leschi Neighborhood or Cowan Park, Relative Arrested After Renton House Surrounded and Cleared (Updated)

Seattle police, following a lead that a relative of Maurice Clemmons – the man Pierce County Sherriff spokesman Ed Troyer has called a person of interest in the shooting deaths of four officers

in Lakewood – lives in a home in the Leschi neighborhood in Seattle, have apparently cornered Clemmons in a trailer at the rear of the home.  This is the same neighborhood where officers Brenton and Sweeny of Seattle PD were ambushed last month.  Scanner traffic appears to be saying that SWAT is deployed at the property and a police negotiator is in contact with Clemmons.  The woman who owns the property has told police that Clemmons came to her home wounded, and went to the trailer shortly after that.  No word on how serious his injuries may be.

Update 1 (November 29,2009 2:30 AM)

As I write this, Seattle Swat has moved very close to the trailer and has fired over a dozen canisters of tear gas.  Tweets of a Seattle PI photographer indicate that they have been approaching the trailer while waiting for the tear gas to take effect.  It is 2:30 in Seattle and the scanner indicates that units from all over Seattle are involved in this situation – blocking the suspect’s egress, sealing off the area streets, organizing evacuation of nearby residents to a safe location – they’ve brought in a bus to give the displaced people a place to wait out the events.

At about 2:34 AM the AP reported shots have been fired, but there is no confirmation of this on the scanner, or by the photojournalist whose Tweets I am following.  His name is Cliff DesPeaux, and he is a Seattle Times staffer.  The Seattle Times has learned that Clemmons was released on bail on the child rape charge in Pierce County just one week ago.  At 2:38 AM police were heard by several reporters to have issued a twenty minute ultimatum to Clemmons – if he does not surrender they will enter the trailer and take him into custody.

Update 2 (November 30, 2009 3:05 AM)

Follow developments live if you wish via scanner at KOMO emergency scanner .  A very interesting article about the suspect’s history and recent erratic behavior is found here.  The Twitter page for the Seattle Times Cliff Despeaux, who has been tweeting from the scene is at Despeaux Twitter.  PI reporter Casey McNerthy  (McNerthy Twitter) is saying that Pierce County Spokesman Ed Troyer has said the suspect may be deceased, but no other sources on scene are saying this.  Still no confirmation on scene of any shots fired.  The reports that the suspect has been shot, and may be seriously wounded or deceased are coming from Pierce County and NOT the scene in Seattle.  Pierce County Sherriff spokesman Ed Troyer has indicated that the suspect was wounded, probably seriously, at the scene of this mornings shootings.  There is no indication that he has been wounded again where he is holed up in the trailer.  Still no confirmation on shots fired.  It appears that police negotiator has been speaking to Clemmons through a bullhorn.  No indication from here that he has been responding.  The woman at the home told Seattle Police that he is in the trailer and had been wounded.

Update 3 (November 30, 2009 3:25 AM)

Seattle Police are also looking for a twenty year old man driving a white Buick, older model type.   The man has multiple convictions for assault and drug crimes.

Scanner traffic has dropped WAY off.  Police units on the scene have been told that they will be held over for the duration of the situation.  Some senior officers believe the standoff will end soon, others think it will last until morning.  There is no sign that police are moving into the trailer and no shots have been fired.  Speculation that the suspect may be deceased due to the wounds he received earlier in the shootout in Lakewood, if accurate, could account for the non-responsiveness on scene.

As of 3:40 AM, the scene is brightly lit, sealed off by SWAT (including a KCS armored vehicle) and no activity – apparently just waiting.

Pierce County Sherriff spokesman Ed Troyer has confirmed that police are holding several people who are believed to have helped Clemmons today after the shooting.  No word on whether they will be charged.  Clemmons has been in jail for a couple of months on the child rape charge.  He made bail, and has been acting very strangely recently according to reports.  The shootings this morning may have been simply because he was enraged over being incarcerated.  Which itself may be an indication of state of mind, since he was in jail recently for a total of eight or nine felonies recently, and has been in jail or prison frequently since he was eighteen.  His sentence in Arkansas was commuted due to his young age at sentencing (eighteen) and the recommendation of the parole board.  I wonder if the presiding judge in the pending cases in Pierce County knew of his extensive record in Arkansas when he set bail at $150,000.  That seems low for so many pending felonies.

There are now two reports that the trailer Clemmons had been hiding in at the rear of a relative’s home has been found empty.  This is not confirmed yet.  As the activity has dropped off, and I got up at 2 for a glass of water, I think I’ll get the water and then I am off to bed. Will update further in the AM, or you may check the Seattle Times or PI websites for any breaking updates.  I hope they can pick this guy up soon.


House in Leschi, scene of last night’s SWAT action.

Update 4 (November 30, 2009 4:06)

Seattle Police entered the trailer where multiple murder suspect Maurice Clemmons had reportedly been hiding.  Following tear gas and flash bang charges, used to disorient the person inside the trailer, Seattle Swat entered and found the trailer empty.  The house and trailer belong to an aunt of Clemmons,  who had informed police that he was hiding there.  No word whether he had been in the trailer and left prior to police arriving, or the information from the relative was faulty.  Police have virtually sealed of the Leschi neighborhood – an unfortunately familiar action since this is also the neighborhood where Timothy Brenton was ambushed last month.  Pierce County police and possibly other jurisdictions have taken several people into custody who helped Clemmons today.  They have learned from these people that Clemmons was wounded, perhaps seriously, and possibly fatally. 

Update 5 (November 30, 2009)

Between blood found at the coffee shop and blood found outside the aunt's house yesterday, police are relatively sure that Clemmons was the shooter, and was present at the house police sealed off last night.  He left in the approximately one hour between the time he was dropped off and police reached the home.  Two witnesses reported seeing him exiting a bus in the University District (near the University of Washington campus).  He is reputed to have had four rifles and a shotgun available to him. 

The guy is clearly seriously nuts, having forced members of his immediate and extended family to strip naked and spend at least five minutes every Sunday naked.  He also is convinced he can fly, and is Jesus. 

With the dearth of sightings today,  I am left to wonder if he is indeed laying in a hedge or overgrown ravine today, having lost a great deal of blood.  About 1 PM this afternoon, Police near Cowen Place and Ravenna Blvd. have found a blood trail that begins at a King County Metro bus stop and leads off into Cowen Park.  It has been searched by K9 and police units. Officers are patrolling the area heavily this evening.

A Tweeter ( produced this map to illustrate the areas police have been searching and focusing on today:

Map of Renton Location Currently being surrounded.

There are reports of flash bangs being detonated five minutes ago at this address in Renton.  KOMO News is on the scene and reporting:

More as warranted.

Update 6 (November 30, 2009)

The Brenton family has issued the following statement  through the Seattle Police Department.  What a classy family!  The statement:

Brenton family statement

The Brenton family has asked the Seattle Police Department to release the below  statement in light of the four Lakewood police officers killed in the line of duty.

Our hearts ache for the families of Sergeant Mark Renninger, Officer Tina Griswold, Officer Ronald Owens and Officer Gregory Richards.  We pray that they will be granted strength during this time of unbearable grief.  Our thoughts are also with the officers of the Lakewood Police Department who continue to provide public safety services to the citizens of Lakewood.  Their families are painfully aware of the risks that are inherent in their loved ones’ chosen profession.

We remain hopeful for the swift capture of the monster who robbed them of their husband, wife, father, mother, son and daughter.

Our family has been comforted by the citizens of Seattle, the Pacific Northwest and beyond who have offered their prayers and support over the past weeks.  For this, we are thankful.

We will ask for one thing more.  Please support the families of the Lakewood officers in the same way you helped us in the days and weeks after Tim’s murder.  We have asked that the Brenton Family Assistance Fund be closed.  Anyone wishing to provide any financial support should devote it to the Lakewood Police Independent Guild.  They will ensure that this will be provided to the families of these fallen heroes.

Donations can be mailed to:

Lakewood Police Independent Guild
PO Box 99579
Lakewood, WA 98499

Donations can also be made on their Web site,

We know that Tim has been joined by Mark, Tina, Ronald and Greg.  We will forever hold their memory dear, honoring their love and sacrifice in service to us all.

Update 7 (November 30,2009)

Finally have received confirmation from multiple sources of the report this morning from ABC that police have definitely recovered the murder weapon, matched by ballistics.

SWAT has taken a relative of Clemmons into custody, arrested on charges aiding the suspected multiple murderer in his flight from police.  Pierce County Sherriff is on site at the Renton SWAT action.  Police have released information that indicates Clemmons was still bleeding when he arrived at the Leschi house police surrounded last night.  Police are also indicating that family members and friends of Clemmons may be calling in false tips to throw police investigators off the trail.  He had access to several shotgun bean bags

Pierce County Sherriff’s spokesman Ed Troyer has said that the office is considering filing obstruction charges against KING TV and the station’s chopper after the helicopter repeatedly (up to four times) interfered with police activity, and police helicopter flight.  The Sherriff’s office indicated that numerous calls to KING were ignored and suggested that if it happens again then all the media present would be removed, and all helicopters held outside the immediate area.  He also suggested that media outlets call KING and let them know that such additional violations would be very much unwelcomed by their fellow news teams.

Multiple murder suspect Maurice Clemmons was not found in the Renton house which police and Swat Units responded this afternoon,  though a member of Clemmons family was taken into custody for making false statements and impeding the investigation.  There are now several possibilities for a wounded Clemmons ranging from on the run in Renton (photo shows SWAT entering a home Clemmons had been reported at CLIFF DESPEAUX / THE SEATTLE TIMES),


dead in an area of underbrush or other cover, or possibly being harbored and receiving limited treatment for his leg wound, possibly by a family member or friend of a family member.  The most recent statement from the Pierce County investigators indicates that evidence indicates that Clemmons had been wounded in the abdomen at the coffee shop, and is almost certainly being aided in both remaining alive and in remaining at large.  In addition to the Leschi and Renton reports, witnesses have reported sightings of a man resembling Clemmons getting off a bus in the U District, along Phinney Ridge in Greenwood, and even at a former address on Queen Anne Hill. 

Below is another photo of Maurice Clemmons, released by KIRO News via a tweet:


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