Police Targeting Homes of Cop Slay Suspect's Friends, Family
Maurice Clemmons got help avoiding capture, police say.
Nov. 30, 2009— -- Seattle area police began conducting aggressive operations tonight, raiding homes of suspected cop killer Maurice Clemmons' friends and family, hoping to round up people they believe helped Clemmons evade capture.
More than 36 hours after he allegedly walked into a Lakewood, Wash., coffee shop and killed four police officers in what officials described as an assassination, Clemmons was still at large, despite a massive manhunt throughout the Seattle area.
Police said Clemmons was armed, possibly with several guns, and was wounded. Calling him "dangerous," they said, is an understatement.
Earlier this evening, police said they believed that Clemmons was still alive, despite likely having suffered a potentially fatal wound in the shooting Sunday morning, and that his family and friends had helped him get away from the police hunting him.
Pierce County Sheriff's Department spokesman Ed Troyer told ABC News Seattle affiliate KOMO-TV that the raids tonight were being carried out "to collect evidence against him and against those helping him evade us."
"Our ultimate goal is to get him into custody, but a part of that plan going to be to make everybody's life miserable that's helping him. And if they want to go down one by one, that's fine with us," Troyer said. "And our goal by doing this is to take everybody out of the equation that's helping him. That way, he'll have nobody left, and have to fend for himself."
A search of a Seattle house for Clemmons came up empty today, after police locked down a neighborhood for several hours and a SWAT team surrounded a house, believing the suspect was holed up inside. Police fired teargas into the house in an effort to coax or force Clemmons out.
When there was no response, police sent in a robot to determine whether Clemmons was inside. SWAT team members followed shortly after. Police told ABC News that there are indications that Clemmons, who was believed to have been injured in the shooting, had been in the house, but had slipped away.
Even after the 11-hour standoff ended, there was still a massive police presence in Seattle's Leschi neighborhood, with six blocks blocked off and police from several agencies methodically combing area homes and backyards. The area was described as hilly and wooded, providing lots of hiding places.
A nearby elementary school was closed. The University of Washington, located several miles away from the Leschi area, also sent out a text and e-mail alert warning that Clemmons might be in the area.
A warrant has been issued for Clemmons arrest on four counts of murder and the reward for information leading to an arrest has also been bumped up from $100,000 to $125,000.
Clemmons, 37, has a gunshot wound to the abdomen that could be fatal if untreated, police sources told ABC News. That information came from associates of the suspect who helped him overnight and were later picked up by police.
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.
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