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Dead Wash. suspect had police officer's gun

Associated Press

SEATTLE — The suspect in the deaths of four police officers in Lakewood, Washington, had a weapon from one of the slain officers when he was shot and killed Tuesday, police said.

A Seattle officer on routine patrol shot and killed Maurice Clemmons, 37, in south Seattle after Clemmons challenged him, authorities said.

Several people who allegedly tried to help Clemmons elude police have been arrested, said Ed Troyer, a spokesman for the Pierce County Sheriff's Office.

"They're going to pay for it," he said.

Chief Bret Farrar of the Lakewood Police Department thanked his law-enforcement colleagues Tuesday after police shot and killed a man suspected of killling four Lakewood police officers.

"I knew they would bring this to a resolution," he said.

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The incident ended a two-day manhunt for Clemmons, 37, that began Sunday after an ambush-style killing of four police officers from Lakewood, about 40 miles south of Seattle.

The slain officers were identified as Sgt. Mark Renninger, 39; Officer Ronald Owens, 37; Officer Tina Griswold, 40; and Officer Greg Richards, 42. All of them were parents and had been with the department since its inception.

Clemmons was an ex-convict with a long rap sheet in Washington and Arkansas, according to authorities and documents.

Witnesses say Clemmons was shot in the torso during the Sunday morning attack, and blood and gauze bandages were found in a truck linked to Clemmons, Troyer said.

Clemmons is thought to have slipped away from a home in Seattle's Leschi neighborhood Sunday night, before police surrounded the residence for about 12 hours. He was not found in the home when the investigators moved in Monday morning, Seattle police spokesman Jeff Kappel said.

The night before the shootings, Clemmons had threatened to kill police officers, but witnesses did not report those threats until after the slayings, Troyer said on ABC's "Good Morning America."

Clemmons was accused of child rape and assaulting a police officer in May. He had been released on $150,000 bond five days before the shootings, according to court records.

After his arrest, Clemmons' sister told police that he "had not been himself lately" and that his behavior was "unpredictable and erratic."

"He had said that the Secret Service was coming to get him because he had written a letter to the president," an affidavit quoted her as telling investigators.

In addition, neighbors had complained that he had been throwing rocks through their windows.

In 2000, then-Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee commuted a 95-year prison sentence for Clemmons, according to documents from the Arkansas Department of Community Correction. He returned to prison in 2001 but was paroled in 2004.

"Should he be found 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's office said in a statement Sunday night.

Copyright 2009 CNN

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