Saturday, December 05, 2009

Development of new fiber type may revolutionize bandages and treatment of burn victims

With any trauma, and especially with burns, one of the most difficult and potentially deadly issue that commonly occurs is infection.  Researchers have recently developed a new type of fiber which may take a huge step forward in reducing the risks of wounds developing infections.

According to Tel Aviv University Professor Meital Zilberman, he has developed a new fiber which can be used to make bandages which will both biodegrade over time while simultaneously releasing antibiotics into the wound as it heals.  In this way, not only does the dressing not need to be replaced, but it actually fights infection in place.  Not only do the bandages improve patient outcomes, he says, but they also will reduce costs (as bandages do not need replacement and medical personnel do not need to spend time changing them), reduce waste (forget discarding even one bandage, let alone several or more daily) and even allow environmentally friendly reductions in manufacturing by-products and energy usage. 

The only drawback I can think of at the outset is that if all wounds are treated with antibiotics, would the process increase the pace at which bacteria are becoming anti-biotic resistance?  I suppose the bandages would only be used in situations where a doctor would otherwise treat the patient with antibiotics, so perhaps that isn’t a significant concern.  I’ve never before realized how complicated research into new bandages could be.

Washington over Cal

With a resounding five touchdown performance by Jake Locker leading the way, the University of Washington Huskies pounded nineteenth-ranked Cal 42-10.  The home win was a fitting capstone for a resurgent program that in no way reminds me of the shambling, disorganized, under-coached, under-recruited Huskies of recent years.  Finishing at 5-7 under first-year Head Coach Steve Sarkisian, the team won its’ final two games by a combined sixty-two point margin.  Locker and the offense have been solid all season, if not always consistent, but perhaps the most encouraging element of the final games was the improvement in the defense.  It hardly seems possible that this is a team just one season removed from an 0-12 debacle, and an overall 11-37 record in four seasons under former Head Coach Tyrone Willingham.

Locker’s stock with NFL scouts has skyrocketed this season, and with three touchdown passes and two rushing touchdowns today, Locker may find himself so highly regarded that he’ll be a very high pick in the NLF draft, should he choose to make himself available.  Locker was 19-23 for 250 yards passing, and rushed for 82 yards on just 13 carries.  Locker’s performance notwithstanding, the Huskies team has come together, with the defense improving and managing to stop an earlier season trend of giving up big plays.  The improvement from zero to five wins in a single season marked just the eleventh time since 1945 that a team managed such a turnaround.  And, if not for last-minute losses to Notre Dame, UCLA and Arizona State, the team might have managed an even greater turnaround and even earned a bowl berth.  It was great to see the program improve so much in tangible results such as wins, but also in intangible ways harder to put into words, but resoundingly present.  This team and program resembled a nice outboard motorboat after last year’s leaking tow man raft (with only one paddle).  Not the cigarette boat fans hope to see sometime in the next few years, but an amazing and doubtless extremely encouraging improvement year-over-year as well as over the course of this season’s twelve games.  Fans were heard chanting “Stay, Jake, stay” at Husky Stadium today and it sure will be fun if he does stick around for another season.  Unless the Seahawks could end up with Locker via the draft (a longshot to be sure), I selfishly would love to see him play another year, and see where he might lead this team . 

I recall the feeling of the eighties and early nineties under Coach Don James, and while there is a long ways yet to go before it is anything but breathless hyperbole to compare this team and program with that of the earlier era, it is clear that the team is heading in the right direction.  Quickly. 

Washington rolls to 42-10 romp over No. 19 Cal - College Football -

Box Score

Huskies Recap from

No. 6 Boise State completes second straight unbeaten regular season

Boise State defeated the lowly New Mexico State Aggies today by a score of 42-7 to complete the program’s second consecutive undefeated regular season. 

With Florida’s poor showing against Alabama and Cincinnati’s one point comeback win over Pitt, it will be interesting to see where the Broncos wind up the regular season, having entered this week’s play ranked #6 in the national polls. In 2007 and 2008 BSU lost by a total of four points in two bowl losses, something I think has contributed along with the mediocre reputation of the WAC to the program’s difficulty in reaching the top 5 in the polls, and in gaining BCS bowl selection. 

This season the Broncos may have some better arguments available to them, defeating  No. 7 Oregon 19-8 in the season opener (Oregon won the Pac-10 and will play in the Rose Bowl), and a 44-33 victory last week a Nevada team that had won eight straight games. In addition, prior to today’s 42 point effort, the Boise State offense ranked second in the nation in scoring, averaging just over 44 points per game. 

But how good is this program compared to the best teams in the nation?  Already the winningest program in the nation over the last ten seasons (108-20), and with an amazing 38-1 record over the past three years, still Boise State was left out of the BCS bowl picture last season.   Since joining the WAC in 2001, Boise State football has amassed an amazing 67-4 record.  The team won the only BCS bowl to which the school has been invited (the greatest football game I have ever seen, by the way) defeating the Oklahoma Sooners 43-42 in overtime in the 2007 Fiesta Bowl.  I’m not sure that Boise State can ever hope to win a national championship while in the Western Athletic Conference, as the competition just isn’t as tough as in the SEC, or even the Big Ten or Pac Ten.  Even with the addition of a tough opponent or two – such as Oregon this season – BSU will find strength of schedule to be a problem in even reaching BCS Bowls, let alone the title tilt.  Still, it is a great program for the fan:  consistent winner, powerful offense, consistency through coaches, quarterbacks, running backs, etc.  And, of course, the blue turf.

No. 6 Boise State completes second straight unbeaten regular season - NCAA College Football Recap – ESPN

CSI Canada

This cracked me up.  I intend no disrespect to Canada or Canadians.  Just thought it was worth blogging aboot. 


Officer Richards' wife knew he would do his duty, no matter what

There are times when the written or spoken word offer us a glimpse of the experience of the writer or speaker.  Often we simply write and speak in declarations, we make a point or state an opinion.  Only now and then do we choose and dare to open the private shutters to our unique experience and point of view.  In a beautiful, touching and overwhelmingly sad interview with Lynda Mapes of the Seattle Times, Kelly Richards has offered such a glimpse of her experience right now, days after her husband, Officer Greg Richards was killed when Maurice Clemmons ambushed him and three colleagues as they prepared for their shift at a coffee shop.

Officer Greg Richards got off the shot that wounded his killer.

Officer Greg Richards

Ms. Mapes did a brilliant piece, allowing Kelly Richards experience speak to us from without being overpowered by a narrative.  There are some very powerful insights, things I might not have realized otherwise.  When Ms. Richards heard on the news that four officers had been killed at Cafe Forza, her heart sank and she began to frantically search for information.  She hoped against hope that her husband was not one of the dead, but then she was struck by a realization.  "…what are you hoping, for someone else's wife or husband to be dead?” 

Ms. Richards even recounts discussing a situation where her husband might find himself in a life or death encounter:

"I had always told him, come home to us, get out, find a way out, if you can't shoot and kill him," Richards said. But she said she knew, like his colleagues, he would do his duty, no matter what.”

And,it was Officer Greg Richards who was able to wound Clemmons, before succumbing to his own injuries.  The owner of Cafe Forza says that Officer Richards shielded customers and baristas by charging Clemmons and forcing him out the door, wounding Clemmons before falling himself. I can only imagine how proud Ms. Richards must be, and how desperately she might simultaneously wish her husband had somehow found a way out – a way home.  I’ve linked to Ms. Mapes article below.  It is well worth reading:

Local News | Officer Richards' wife knew he would do his duty, no matter what | Seattle Times Newspaper

By the way, on December 8th and 9th, the very generous 40+ Papa Johns Pizza stores in Western Washington will be donating all profits to the families of these men.  Don’t you think that you will have a special craving for Papa Johns Pizza on Tuesday or Wednesday? Some additional links to stories which might be of interest:

Details on Tuesday memorial for four slain officers

Photograph: Officer Ronald Owens

Officer Ronald Owens Obituary

Lakewood Sgt. Mark Renninger is shown with his son, Nicholas, about two years ago.

Sergeant Mark Renninger and his son, about two years ago.

Obituary for Sergeant Mark Renninger

'People like you are what the world needs'

Officer Tina Griswold a stickler for safety

Seattle Times Obituary for Officer Griswold

Officer Tina Griswold Memorial


Friday, December 04, 2009

New Yorker’s Subtlety

This photo made me laugh.  If you’ve ever been around one of these alarms that goes off for five minutes every time a delivery truck goes by, you might laugh too.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Cop killer's suspected get-away driver could face murder charges

Police have taken the man who is believed to have driven Maurice Clemmons away from the murder of four Lakewood police officers into custody and asked that he be held without bail on warrants from Arkansas.  He may be charged with murder for his role in the escape.  The man, Darcus D. Allen, is wanted in Arkansas for robbery, theft, and parole violations.  He was convicted in Arkansas also of participating as driver in a robbery where two people were murdered.  It is an eerily similar situation to the one that unfolded on Sunday in Lakeland. 

This article in the Tacoma News Tribune also has a chronology of Clemmons movements.

Cop killer's suspected get-away driver could face murder charges | Local News - The News Tribune | Seattle-Tacoma News, Weather, Sports, Jobs, Homes and Cars | South Puget Sound's Destination

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Daniel Henninger: Climategate: Science Is Dying -

Interesting commentary by Daniel Henninger in the WSJ.  The shabby aspects of ‘climategate’ seem to deal more in attempts to block dissidents from publication and tricking numbers to manipulate them into being ‘right’ – that is, to reflect what the scientist in question assumed they would.   The shoddy behavior of a few scientists does not change the facts.  Whether the planet is warming, and whether the cause is human activity or not is not changed by a small group of ‘scholars’ attempting to trick the numbers or keep others who disagree from publishing.  Henninger refers to Gallileo, and it doesn’t seem that much of a stretch to see global warming driven by human activity as an article of faith which must be served if one wishes to prosper in scientific endeavors.  Scientists are called to a higher discourse and regard for free exchange of information and ideas.  Though it does not change whether the earth is warming due to our activities or not, the behavior of our scientific community does bear on not only this question but the whole of scientific discourse.  IMO.

Daniel Henninger: Climategate: Science Is Dying -

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Cop Killer Maurice Clemmons Shot to Death

Early this morning, despite a series of SWAT activities at locations police believed that Clemmons might attempt to hide himself, it appears that he was seen and identified by an officer on regular patrol.  When the officer of Seattle Police located the man who killed in cold blood four Lakewood Police officers, he was armed with the sidearm of one of the officers he’d killed. 

Assistant Seattle Police Chief Jim Pugel, speaking to reporters this morning, indicated that a single officer noticed a stolen Acura left running along South Kenyan Street.  He approached the car, looked it over and returned to his patrol car to do the paperwork and arrange for the car to be transported.  As he sat in his patrol unit, the officer noticed in his side view mirror that a man was approaching him from behind.  The veteran patrol officer jumped from the car, ordered Clemmons to halt and put his hands up. Chief Pugel said that Clemmons began to ran. Unwilling to allow the four-time killer to escape, the patrol officer fired three or four rounds, killing Clemmons.

This photo, taken by Joshua Trujillo/, shows several Seattle Police Officers looking at Clemmons body as it is loaded into an ambulance for transport to the medical examiner.  Trujillo and several of his colleagues probably worked almost without a break since Sunday morning, and have used Twitter to keep each other and some of us who follow them on that service up to speed on what each is seeing.

Troyer has said that Clemmons had told several relatives and friends to watch the news on Sunday because he was “going to kill a bunch of cops.”  Apparently none of them reported the threat, and the next morning Clemmons acted on it.  As suspected all day, Clemmons had been wounded in the torso, severely enough that Ed Troyer was somewhat surprised that he could get away. 

A relative treated the wound on Sunday night, before it was joined by three or four additional gunshot wounds when Clemmons approached the Seattle patrol officer from the rear, then ran when the officer spun around and saw him. 

Ed Troyer of the Peirce County Sherriff’s Department met with reporters early Tuesday morning.  According to Troyer, three arrests have been made for "rendering criminal assistance" to Clemmons in his flight. Additionally, a fourth person is being detained for assisting Clemmons in escaping from the Parkland area after Sunday's shooting.  Troyer also said he expects that an additional six or seven arrests will be made: "Some are friends, some are acquaintances, some are partners in crime, some are relatives," Troyer said. "Now they're all partners in crime."

Troyer said that family members were supplying Clemmons with cell phones, money and were working on getting him transported out of state.  Troyer has also said that Clemmons had attempted to draw his pistol when the SPD officer ordered him to stop and show his hands.



Cliff Despeaux of the Seattle Times, who also must have been working since Sunday morning on this story (Despeaux tweeted that he began his day covering the Seattle Marathon on Sunday before the awful call came in and he headed to Parkland.  He worked most of the next 48 hours shadowing SWAT teams as they fanned out to cut Clemmons off from additional aid from family and friends.  The above photo is of the location where Clemmons was killed.  His twitter account was ‘tweeting’ steadily for both days.

Lakewood Police Chief Bret Farrar came to the site of where Clemmons was killed early this morning.  Farar said "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."

Update 1 (December 1, 2009)

Seattle Police Officer Benjamin L. Kelly has been identified as the officer who ended the criminal activities and life of the man responsible for killing in cold blood four police officers on Sunday, as well as a long string of assaults, armed robberies and most recently, charges that he raped a child.  "It was incredible police work. He's an incredible officer. He is nothing short of a hero, although he would bristle at being called that," according to  Seattle Police Officers Guild president Rich O'Neill.  He added that Officer Kelly values his privacy and doesn’t seek the limelight.

"I told him, 'You caught the suspect responsible for the worst police massacre in Washington state history. You need to take a deep breath and soak that in.' ", O’Neill added.  “He was alone, and was confronted by this guy, and knew it was him. "He wouldn't put his hands out, and to later find that he had the dead officer's gun on his person, one can only assume what he was approaching (Kelly) for". 

Seattle police have said today that it is believed that the scene, beginning with a stolen car parked with the hood up and motor running, certainly suggested an attempt by Clemmons to ambush another officer.  Assistant Seattle Police Chief Jim Pugel has said Clemmons approached Kelly from behind, when Kelly noticed him  approaching, he jumped from the squad car to disarm and arrest Clemmons.  

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:


Sunday, November 29, 2009

A Sad Hesitation

I took the kids to the movies and as we were leaving the parking garage I saw an officer stocking up his belt with equipment from the trunk of his car.  Knowing what a terrible thing had happened earlier, and how hard it must be to pull on a police uniform and go to work, I wanted to say something.  I stopped and said “thank you, officer, we are behind you”.  He turned and looked, then gave me and my vehicle a careful once over before making eye contact with me and nodding in acknowledgement.  I realized at that instant that the first thing that he thought when I spoke was ‘is this guy a threat?’  He checked me out, and noted the kids in the back seat before he nodded.  I think he was glad to hear me express support, but I also think I gave him an adrenaline rush while he looked to see if I was going to turn out to be a bad guy.

I wish I had a better vessel to express my appreciation, respect and support for the men and women who serve in our communities.  I wish I could somehow bake enough pies, and like Santa I could magically reach each police station during each shift of every law enforcement agency in Western Washington.  I’d hand over a warm pie, express my gratitude and support for the thin blue line and the heroes who man it.

The worst thing is, that I bet no one would eat the pies, and rightly so.  I’m sure I’d be looked at, and rightly so.  It is impossible for me to express my regard and hope that no further attacks occur.  I also know that nothing anyone says can make this better.  Nine children lost their mother or father today.  Two women lost their husbands, one man lost his wife.  So many lives forever changed, so much pain.  I wish I could do more to support our law enforcement community, to somehow be of service.  Still, I understand full well that now and for a while, should I slow or stop my car to quickly express solidarity with officers, I will be scrutinized.  Someday, they won’t feel this strong need to check everyone they come in contact with.  Someday, I hope, police officers will once again scrutinize  lightly company he reaps.

Four Police Officers Killed in Lakewood (Updated)

It is too early to say what the suspect’s motivation was for this ambush of four police officers south of Seattle in Lakewood.  This morning about 8:30 as the officers were preparing to go on duty, a man walked into the coffee shop and opened fire.  Killed were three men and one woman, from the Lakewood Police Department.  The officers identities have not been released pending notification of families.  The officers were in uniform, doing pre-shift paperwork on their laptops when the ambush began.  All were wearing their bulletproof vests.  Spokesman Ed Troyer of the Pierce County Sherriff has said that it is not yet known if any of the officers were able to return fire. 

Investigators have tagged and towed a light-colored pickup truck they believe to be the getaway vehicle, and are pursuing multiple search warrants.  Troyer has said that police do not suspect gang involvement at this time, saying that it would be very unusual for gang members to call attention to themselves in this way.  Police were involved in a standoff in a residence a few blocks from the location at which the pickup was discovered about two hours after the shootings.   The suspect is described as a black male between 5’8 and 5’9, in his late twenties or thirties.  His facial hair is ‘scruffy’ and he was wearing a black coat and blue jeans.  Another man may have been with him and fled with the suspect in the white pickup later recovered. 

A $10,000 reward has been offered for information in the case.

Update 1 (November 29,2009)

Police have indicated that the suspect walked into the cafe, past the officers, who were all working on their laptops preparing for their upcoming shift.  The suspect walked to the counter and pretended to order.  He then opened his coat.  The barista saw his handgun and ran out the back door.  The man then turned and shot two officers at close range in the head.  As a third officer stood to bring a weapon to bear the suspect shot again, fatally wounding that officer.  Finally, the fourth officer was shot as that officer brought a weapon to bear.  Though officer was fatally wounded, the officer grasped the suspect and struggled with him to the doorway of the cafe.  It is uncertain if the officer died there of wounds inflicted as he or she rose from their chair, or if he or she was shot again in the doorway.  Investigators believe that the officer got off at least one, and perhaps several shots.  It is unknown if the suspect was hit.

Pierce County Sherriff spokesman Ed Troyer indicated that police are looking at an Arkansas man as a person of interest.  He is

Maurice Clemmons, and he has a long criminal record for armed robberies, assaults, child rape, assault on a police office.  He apparently has been seen in the area and fits the description.  Clemmons had been pardoned in 2000 after serving a fraction of his sentence of 95 years.  I am looking into the history of the pardon to see what convinced Governor Mike Huckabee to grant the pardon.  Clemmons was arrested and charged in Pierce County for third-degree assault on a police officer, and second-degree rape of a child.  He has not, to my knowledge, been identified as the shooter, but fits the description and his recent arrest for assaulting an officer makes him a person of interest.

The officers, an entire patrol squad of three officers and their sergeant, have been identified as Tina Griswold, Greg Richards, Ronald Owens, and Sergeant Mark Renninger.  More than a hundred officers responded to the radio call from dispatch, and many of them from surrounding jurisdictions were on their own time.  A motorcade of dozens of police cars and motorcycles with lights flashing escorted the officers remains to the medical examiner’s office.  They passed beneath a large American flag suspended from two ladder trucks – something I had hoped not to see again in the Seattle Area in my lifetime.  It has become necessary far too soon after the loss of Timothy Brenton. 

The founder of Cafe Forza, a man named Brad Carpenter, is himself a retired policeman.  He indicates that several of his staff that witnessed the attack are still meeting with police trying to recreate a timeline and diagram the events as they happened.  Needless to say, they are pretty upset and it has been painful for them to go through it in detail.  

Police are identifying video surveillance locations and analyzing surveillance videos for any leads they may hold.

Cafe Forza Lakewood, WA

Local News | Four police officers shot to death in Lakewood in apparent ambush | Seattle Times Newspaper

Sunshine on Discovery Bay

Sunshine on Discovery Bay
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