Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 20 August 2014

US police killer suspect is shot dead

The prime suspect in the murder of four US police officers was shot dead by their colleagues today.

Maurice Clemmons was killed hiding out in a working-class Seattle district after police tracked him down.

At the scene today a couple of dozen police officers milled around, shaking hands and patting each other on the back after one of the largest manhunts in the region's history.

Police had originally surrounded a house in Seattle late on Sunday following a tip Clemmons had been dropped off there. After an all-night siege they entered the home yesterday and found it empty. But police said Clemmons had been there.

They suspect Clemmons, 37, of shooting the four officers at a coffee shop on Sunday morning in Parkland, about 35 miles south of Seattle.

Police said they do not know what prompted Clemmons, a convicted criminal, to shoot the officers as they did paperwork on their laptops.

Clemmons had stayed on the run for nearly two days with help from a network of friends and family who gave him places to stay, medical aid, rides and money, police said.

Police believe people close to Clemmons have misled officers, and anyone helping him could face charges.

The gunman singled out the officers in the coffee shop and spared employees and other customers. He then fled, but not before he was apparently shot by one of the dying officers.

Killed were Sgt. Mark Renninger, 39, and Officers Ronald Owens, 37, Tina Griswold, 40, and Greg Richards, 42.

Police said Clemmons indicated the night before the shooting "that he was going to shoot police and watch the news."

Police frantically chased leads yesterday, searching multiple spots in the Seattle and Tacoma area and at one point cordoning off a park where people thought they saw Clemmons.

They found a handgun carried by the killer, along with a pickup truck belonging to the suspect with blood stains inside. They posted a 125,000 dollar reward for information leading to Clemmons' arrest and alerted hospitals to be on the lookout for a man seeking treatment for gunshot wounds.

Authorities in two states were criticised amid revelations that Clemmons was allowed to walk the streets despite a teenage crime spree in Arkansas that landed him an 108-year prison sentence. He was released early after the governor commuted his sentence.

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