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Ed Troyer talks to media near crime scene
UPDATE: Find out why a KOMO News reporter talked to Clemmons last year for a story -

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4 Police Officers Shot Dead in Lakewood Area

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Ed Troyer talks to media near crime scene
UPDATE: Find out why a KOMO News reporter talked to Clemmons last year for a story - as did a KING reporter. His family also admits to helping him escape to Seattle yesterday, saying he has a bullet wound in his stomach; and Leschi residents will be given flyers tonight on the search there. Details after the jump.

Previous Update: Reported Clemmons sightings in the University District and Beacon Hill have turned up nothing. After noon, police descended on the Cowen Park/Ravenna area and were following a trail of blood, though that ended inconclusively. Police are also now looking for a car registered to Clemmons' wife.

Previous Update: After an hours-long standoff in Leschi, police say shooting suspect Maurice Clemmons is not inside the home and may still be on the loose. The four officers have also been identified, and the reward has jumped to $120,000.

Four so-far unidentified police officers were shot dead in a Parkland/Lakewood area coffee shop Sunday morning, according to the Pierce County Sheriff's Dept. Spokesperson Ed Troyer was not yet able to say which police agency the four were from, though it may be Lakewood. [Update: the three male and one female officers were all from the Lakewood Police Dept.]

"It was just a flat out ambush," Troyer said. "It appears they were doing paperwork and getting ready for their shift to start. The four of them are known by everybody here..." he said, referring to officers investigating the deaths. He asked for the public's help to identify the single suspect, who walked into the Forza Coffee shop at 11401 on South Steele Street near McChord Air Force Base around 8:15 a.m. [Update: Police now say they're looking for a Pierce County man in his 30s in connection with the shooting.] "We have nothing to link this to the Seattle shooting," Troyer added at a press briefing, speaking about the recent Halloween night ambush killing of SPD Officer Tim Brenton.

There were apparently two customers and two employees in the shop who witnessed the shooting, Troyer said. There was one shooter who may have had an accomplice in his getaway, although the shooter left the area on foot, he said. A $10,000 reward is already being offered. The News Tribune reports the uniformed officers were sitting in the coffee shop with their computers, wearing protective vests, when the shooter came in. The officers were targeted - "an execution" said Troyer, who urged the public to use caution in approaching any possible suspects.

UPDATE: Each police victim had children and had been with the Lakewood force since its creation in 2004. They are (left to right, clockwise):

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- Ronald Owens. Owens, 37, had 12 years of law enforcement experience. He is survived by a former wife and a daughter.

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

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

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

UPDATE: The Times has a lengthy run-down of Clemmons criminal past. It's extensive, and includes a pardon from then-Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee.

Although cops aren't yet calling him a suspect, they've certainly narrowed down their search to someone who might have committed such a terrible crime.

Clemmons is a violent man who's clearly not well. He just recently got bailed out of jail where he'd been for months on a pending second-degree child rape charge.

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Maurice Clemmons, sought for shootings.

In the past year cops have been called out to his home twice. In the first instance in May, the incident ended with Clemmons punching a sheriff's deputy in the face and getting cuffed for seven assault violations.

In the last, Pierce County cops were called to his home after Clemmons forced his wife and young relatives to strip naked in the middle of the night. In the police report, the Times says officers noted that Clemmons told his family that he was Jesus, the world was ending soon and that every family needed to be naked together for at least five minutes on Sunday.

Also in May, Clemmons' sister told police that her brother was paranoid, saying the Secret Service was after him because of a letter he'd written to President Obama. Other family members confirmed the craziness, saying Clemmons had told them he could fly and expected Obama to identify him as the messiah.

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Clemmons moved here from Arkansas five years ago, reports the Times. There he was facing hundreds of years on multiple felony convictions when then-Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee commuted his sentence. It's not known now why Huckabee made the decision back then, but the Times managed to track down a prosecuting attorney familiar with Clemmons who said this was the "day he'd been dreading for a long time."

Witnesses including two shop employees said the shooter walked in, pulled out a handgun, and began firing at the officers, collected around one of a half dozen tables in the shop in a short strip mall just a few blocks outside Lakewood in Pierce County. At least one of the officers apparently was able to return fire before dying, likely wounding the suspect.

Troyer said that in wake of the Seattle shooting and now the Lakewood ambush, police officers will have to be more wary; even having coffee is a vulnerable position for cops, he said, who typically are aware of who comes through a door by sitting with their backs to the wall. That should become something of a rule for officers today, he said.

Additional reporting by Caleb Hannan

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Near the Parkland crime scene

UPDATE: SeattleCrime.com reports that SWAT officers have surrounded a home in Leschi that may be owned by a relative of Clemmons.

It sounds like a woman might have dropped off someone matching Clemmons' description at the house earlier today.

It appears police may be in contact with their subject. They believe he is wounded and still armed.

The home, at 30th and Yesler, is only a block away from where Christopher Monfort allegedly gunned down Officer Timothy Brenton. A strange, possibly completely coincidental link between two separate attacks on police.

UPDATE: When police entered the trailer where they thought Clemmons may be hiding they found it empty.

Clemmons is now a suspect with a murder warrant, no longer just a person of interest. Seattle police have detained multiple people, including some they say assisted Clemmons.

Although police say he is wounded and may already be dead, they're also urging caution. If still on the run, Clemmons is considered armed and dangerous.

UPDATE: University of Washington faculty, staff and students received e-mails this morning warning them that Clemmons may have been spotted on campus.

But according to the police scanner the area has now been cleared. As has "the jungle," a homeless encampment on Beacon Hill where Clemmons was also reportedly spotted. As of 12:30 p.m., police were concentrating their search around Cowen Park where a blood trial was reportedly spotted near a men's room.

The scanner is now abuzz for officers to be on the lookout for a green 1997 Mazda Millenia with Washington license plate 208-SSX, apparently registered to Clemmons' wife. The car is possibly headed for Arkansas, police say.

Meanwhile, TechFlash is calling the still-ongoing search for Clemmons a "watershed moment for the use of Twitter and other social media tools in Seattle journalism," as everyone from Times executive editor David Boardman (@dboardman) to ordinary Leschi residents Tweet the latest updates.

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Lakewood PD spokesperson Heidi Hoffman, tearfully speaks to reporters
UPDATE: KOMO News reports this afternoon that Clemmons' family drove him to Seattle yesterday to aid his getaway, and that he was suffering from a bullet wound to the stomach, which, if untreated, could prove fatal; Leschi residents tonight will be given these flyers regarding the SPD search in that neighborhood overnight; also, KOMO reporter Travis Mayfield spoke with Clemmons last August.

Clemmons was landlord of a Lakewood home that caught fire after a fireworks accident. To Mayfield, Clemmons apparently said these now chilling words: "A life, you can't never get that back. But property, that can always be replaced."

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Travis Mayfield
Clemmons on KOMO News last August.

And in this report is a similar 2008 KING interview with Clemmons by Linda Brill:

 
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