Menu

Seattle Police: Cop-Killing Suspect on The Loose

Police in Washington state said the suspect in the killings of four police officers in a Seattle-area coffee shop was not inside the house that they had surrounded since early Monday morning.

Negotiators spent the night trying to communicate with 37-year-old Maurice Clemmons, but discovered after a search of the Seattle house and that the suspect was not inside.

SLIDESHOW: Deadly Lakewood Police Shooting

Bios of the Slain Washington Officers

Pierce County sheriff's spokesman Ed Troyer said the location of Clemmons is not known, and it's possible he may still be in the neighborhood staked out overnight by Seattle police.

Troyer also said people who know Clemmons told investigators that he had been shot in the torso.

Pierce County sheriff's spokesman Lt. Dave McDonald confirmed Monday that investigators searching the coffee shop had recovered a handgun carried by the shooter, but he did not know if it was the weapon used in Sunday's shootings. McDonald would not say what type of weapon it is.

The University of Washington police have alerted students to an unconfirmed report that the suspect in the Lakewood police shootings may have been sighted on or near the campus in Seattle.

Cmdr. Jerome Solomon says someone reported that Maurice Clemmons was seen getting off a bus about 7 a.m. Monday near the university's hospital. He says police are checking the area.

Students have been alerted by e-mail and text messages.

Troyer said warrants for first-degree murder have been issued against Clemmons. A $125,000 reward has been offered for information leading to the suspect's arrest, Troyer said, according to a Twitter post on The Seattle Times' Web site.

The neighborhood is still locked down.

Negotiators had been trying to communicate with Clemmons using loudspeakers, explosions and even a robot to try to prod him from hiding. At one point, gunshots rang through the neighborhood, about 30 miles from the original crime scene.

"We have determined that in fact he has been shot," said Troyer. "He may be deceased from his gunshot wound."

Troyer said Clemmons was shot by one of the murdered police officers, according to The Seattle Times.

Police said they knew the suspect was injured because they have detained other people who reportedly assisted Clemmons after the shootings, The Seattle Times reported.

Troyer would not comment on the number of people they have detained.

Clemmons has a long criminal history, including a long prison sentence commuted by former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee nearly a decade ago and a recent arrest for allegedly assaulting a police officer in Washington.

Huckabee issued a statement: "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."

"This is a horrible and tragic event and if found and convicted the offender should be held accountable to the fullest extent of the law."

Clemmons allegedly went to a coffee house on Sunday morning and opened fire on the Lakewood officers, killing Sgt. Mark Renninger, 39, Ronald Owens, 37, Tina Griswold, 40, and Greg Richards, 42, as they caught up on paperwork at the beginning of their shifts. He fled but authorities believe he might have been wounded by one of his victims.

"We don't know if he's still alive. If he isn't, it's because he succumbed to the wound he received yesterday when he was in the struggle with the police officer that managed to get a shot fired at him before he was killed," Troyer said on CBS television.

Lakewood Police Chief Bret Farrar said all four victims had been with the department since its inception.

"We're a young department. We put it together in 2004, and the four we lost yesterday were original members of the department," Lakewood Police Chief Bret Farrar said in a press conference Monday. "They were good people, good officers and we'll miss them very much."

Ferrar said many law enforcement agencies have rallied behind the departments effort to find Clemmons and comfort the victims families.

"There's no way I could name every agency — federal, state and local — that has come to our aid."

Police surrounded a house late Sunday where Clemmons was expected to be hiding, and a negotiator used a loudspeaker early Monday to call him out by name, saying: "Mr. Clemmons, I'd like to get you out of there safely. I can tell you this, we are not going away."

Any response from inside the house was inaudible from the vantage of a photographer for The Associated Press. But shortly thereafter, police began using sirens outside the house, and there were several loud bangs before the negotiator resumed speaking. By 3 a.m., the loudspeakers and explosions had fallen silent. Seattle Police spokesman Jeff Kappel said Clemmons has never responded. It's not clear whose house it is.

Clemmons is believed to have been in the area of the coffee shop around the time of the shooting, but Troyer declined to say what evidence might link him to the shooting.

Investigators say they know of no reason that Clemmons or anyone else might have had to open fire on the four as they sat working on their laptops Sunday. Court documents indicate that Clemmons is delusional and mentally unstable.

"We're going to be surprised if there is a motive worth mentioning," said Troyer, who sketched out a scene of controlled and deliberate carnage that spared the employees and other customers at the coffee shop in suburban Parkland, about 35 miles south of Seattle.

The Lakewood Police Independent Guild, the union for the department, has set up a charity for the victims' families.

Guild President Brian Wurts said since online donations started being accepted Sunday night, the charity has received contributions from all over the world ranging from $5 to $500.

"Every cent is going to these families and to their kids to thelp them pay for college," Wurts said.

Those interested in donating to the charity or reading more on the fallen officers can do so at www.lpig.us.

Click for more from Q13FOX.com.

Click for more from The Seattle Times.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.