Police Focus on Maurice Clemmons Accomplices After Cop Killer Fatally Shot

Hero police officer Benjamin Kelly won the confrontation with Maurice Clemmons.

November 29, 2009, 7:14 PM

Dec. 1, 2009— -- Hours after the gunman accused of killing four Washington cops was gunned down in a confrontation with a lone officer on patrol, investigators have rolled up a growing network of friends and families who helped the shooter evade arrest for two days.

Police in Pierce County have so far made four arrests and expect more by the day's end. They say friends and family provided suspected cop killer Maurice Clemmons, 37, with cell phones, money, hideouts and car rides -- even calling in fake tips to throw police off his trail.

Due in court today are Douglas Davis, Eddie Davis and Rickey Hinton. Police have not said what their connection is to Clemmons, but all are charged with four counts of first-degree criminal assistance, a charge applied to those accused of aiding a murder suspect. Bail was initially set for all three at $20,000.

Clemmons' sister, police said today, was also one of the people detained in Pierce County, which has jurisdiction over the shooting of the Lakewood officers at a coffee shop. She is accused of helping provide her brother with medical treatment for a gunshot wound to the abdomen he suffered in the coffee shop shoot out.

Clemmons was killed early today after a confrontation with Seattle police officer Benjamin L. Kelly, who was on patrol alone.

Seattle Police Detective Renee Witt told ABCNews.com today that that officer "fired several times" and that they believe Clemmons was hit at least twice.

Witt said Kelly opened fire after Clemmons reached into his pocket, ignoring the officer's commands to show his hands.

A handgun, with a serial number matching that of a firearm missing from one of the slain Lakewood officers, was found in the pocket Clemmons was reaching for, she said.

"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," Rich O'Neill, president of the Seattle Police Officers Guild, told ABC News affiliate KOMO.

Seattle police spokesman Jim Pugel said at a news conference today that Clemmons died a short time later in an ambulance.

"Right now it's just a feeling of relief," Pugel said. "Another tragic time has come upon all of us and we're just glad it's over."

Pugel said there was no indication that Clemmons had any ties to the neighborhood where he was killed or that he had been inside any of the nearby homes. Police were unsure this morning where the car had been stolen from.

Seattle police had been watching several homes, with officers assigned to watch each location, authorities said today.

At the time of the shooting, authorities had been conducting a systematic raid on the homes of Clemmons' known friends, family and associates, trying to eliminate the suspect's sources of aid, one by one.

It was the misleading tips, police said, that led police and SWAT members to surround a Seattle home for 11 hours Sunday night into Monday.

The standoff in Seattle's Leschi neighborhood ended Monday morning when a police robot and SWAT members confirmed that Clemmons had been able to flee the area undetected.

Authorities say Clemmons had no ties to the house he was believed to have been hiding in and that they believe he was dropped off in the neighborhood Sunday evening.

The area was described as hilly and wooded, providing lots of hiding places.

Maurice Clemmons Allegedly Gave Warning Before Cop Slayings

Clemmons suffered a gunshot wound to the abdomen in a brief shootout with the Lakewood officers he ultimately killed as they sat in a coffee shop Sunday morning, preparing for their next shift.

A police source has told ABC News that they recovered the murder weapon Monday. Though more than one gun was recovered, they believe he used only one in the attack, a semi-automatic handgun.

Authorities said the attack on the Lakewood officers was a planned ambush.

"We don't believe he was targeting them in particular," Pierce County Sheriff's Department spokesman Ed Troyer said. "We just believe he was out to kill some police officers execution style."

Police learned after the attack, Troyer added, that Clemmons had bragged to others the night before the shooting that they should watch the news "because he was going to go kill some cops."

Troyer said people who heard Clemmons' alleged warning called in the tip to police after the shooting.

"They are people they were hanging out with the night before," he said. "They didn't believe him and thought he was crazy."

Troyer said police have interviewed the people who heard the threat, but would not release their names or comment on their identities other than to say they were acquaintances of Clemmons.

The Lakewood Police Department is a small force and the deaths represent a loss of 10 percent to 15 percent of the department. The four officers killed were parents to a total of nine children. Their deaths, Troyer said, should never have happened.

Washington Police Fault Arkansas for Maurice Clemmons' Release

In a news release, the sheriff's office said Clemmons has an extensive violent criminal history from Arkansas, including aggravated robbery and theft. Clemmons also recently was arrested and charged in Pierce County in Washington state for third-degree assault on a police officer and second-degree rape of a child.

Clemmons had been released from custody six days ago, bonding out despite an outstanding warrant from Arkansas, where he was pardoned by then Gov. Mike Huckabee nine years ago after serving 11 years of a potential 60-year sentence.

Troyer faulted the state of Arkansas for not acting on the outstanding fugitive warrant for Clemmons after Washington police notified them that he was in custody.

"We know here in Washington we didn't do anything wrong," Troyer said. "We've arrested him multiple times."

In a statement released overnight, Huckabee called the murder of a police officer "the worst of all murders in that it is an assault on every citizen and the laws we live within."

"Should he be found to be responsible for this horrible tragedy, it will be the result of a series of failures in the criminal justice system in both Arkansas and Washington State," Huckabee said, saying that Clemmons met the conditions for commutation and parole at the time. "It appears that he has continued to have a string of criminal and psychotic behavior but was not kept incarcerated by either state."

Marion Humphrey, the Little Rock judge who urged clemency for Clemmons in 2000 told ABC News today that he was horrified and hurt that the man he recommended for leniency would be accused of such a crime.

"I did what I did, and I stand behind what I did. I regret what has happened and I acknowledge responsibility for what I did," Humphrey said. "At the time he appeared to me to be a person who was trying to get his life back together."

Humphrey, also a Presbyterian minister who presided over Clemmons' wedding, said his consideration was based on his belief in mercy and Clemmons' age at the time.

After the attack, Troyer said, an electronic monitoring device put on Clemmons by the bond company was found to have been cut off his ankle.

Police said the suspect in the shootings walked up to the counter as if to place an order, then pulled a gun out of his coat and began firing. In a last ditch effort to stop the attack, one of the officers was said to have struggled with the shooter, fighting him out the door of the coffee shop, and possibly getting off a few shots at the gunman, until the officer was shot and killed.

Troyer said over the weekend that the officers were working on their laptops, preparing for the start of their shifts when the shooting started.

"There were marked patrol cars outside and they were all in uniform," Troyer said.

The officers were identified as:

• Sgt. Mark Renninger, 39. He had 13 years of law enforcement experience, and is survived by a wife and 3 children.

• Officer Ronald Owen, 37. He had 12 years of law enforcement experience, and is survived for his former wife and a daughter.

• Officer Tina Griswold, 40. She had 14 years of law enforcement experience, and is survived by her husband and two children.

• Officer Greg Richards, 42. He had eight years of law enforcement experience, and is survived by his wife and three children.

ABC News' Megan Clark and The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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