Theodore's World: 4 Police Officers Murdered in Deadly Ambush Near McChord Air Force Base in Tacoma

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November 30, 2009

4 Police Officers Murdered in Deadly Ambush Near McChord Air Force Base in Tacoma

Four Lakewood (WA) police officers shot and killed in 'ambush'


PARKLAND, Wash. - Four Lakewood Police officers were shot and killed Sunday morning in what authorities called a targeted ambush at a coffee shop.

Pierce County Sheriff's spokesman Ed Troyer says the officers - four male and one female - were in full uniform and wearing bulletproof vests, sitting in Forza coffee shop near 116th Street and Steele Street on the east side of the Air Force base at about 8:30 a.m.

Troyer says the officers were preparing for their shift when a suspect or suspects "walked in with a handgun, opened fire multiple times and then fled the scene," said Troyer.
Troyer called it an "ambush."
"They had marked police cars, marked uniforms, there were other people inside the facility, they weren't shot, wounded or hurt or even aimed at, just the police officers were," said Troyer.

It wasn't clear whether the officers even had time to draw their weapons to return fire, Troyer said.

"This was more of an execution. Walk in with the specific mindset to shoot police officers," Troyer said.

With no known suspects, there was no indication of any connection with the Halloween night shooting of a Seattle police officer. The suspect in that shooting remains hospitalized.

"We won't know if it's a copycat effect or what it was until we get the case solved," Troyer said. "We don't even have a suspect ID right now."

Troyer would not release the names of the victims in Sunday's shooting. He said Lakewood has a small police force and the deaths represent a loss of 10 percent to 15 percent of the department.

Troyer estimates a couple hundred officers from the Washington State Patrol and multiple surrounding police agencies in the area are at the scene, with some coming on their own time.

"We have no motive at all," Troyer said. "I don't think when we find out what it is, it will be anything that makes any sense or be worth it."

Two employees and a few other customers were in the shop during the attack. All are being interviewed by the Pierce County Sheriff's investigators.

"Some are in shock. They are very upset," Troyer said. "They are the ones who are going to put together for us how this happened."

The Forza Coffee Shop, part of a popular local chain, is on a side street near McChord Air Force Base in Tacoma. The shop is in a small retail center alongside two restaurants, a cigar store and a nail salon.

Brad Carpenter, founder and owner of Forza Coffee, said his staff was OK and being interviewed by police, and that his main concern was with the families of the police officers.

"I'm a retired police officer, so this really hits close to home for me," he said.

Roads are blocked around the scene. Dave Gabrielson, a clerk at Foot Mart about a block away from the coffee shop, told the News Tribune that all was quiet when he opened the store at 8 a.m.

About 30 minutes later, "All of a sudden a million cops were zooming up and down the road," he said.

Pierce County Sheriff Paul Pastor said "this is an example of the danger that police officers and deputy sheriffs and state troopers face every day."

"The person or people who did this not only harmed us they harmed the good that we can do in the community. They harmed the good that we work to do every day in the community," he said.
"This is an example of the cost that is sometimes paid by people who believe in duty and obligation and sacrifice and people who do that on behalf of the community."
"We've lost people that we care about, we've lost people I'm sure the good people in the community care about as well," said Pastor.
Washington Gov. Chris Gregoire said she was "shocked and horrified" by the killings.
"Our police put their lives on the line every day, and tragedies like this remind us of the risks they continually take to keep our communities safe," she said in a written statement. "My heart goes out to the family, friends and co-workers of these officers, as well as the entire law enforcement community."
Troyer said there were several active scenes that officers were working. A white pick-up truck was impounded from a parking lot at one scene and a person was taken into custody at another.

He said they are looking to see if there is any surveillance cameras that may have caught the suspect on video.

Troyer said the suspect is a black male, 5-foot-7 to 6 feet tall, 20s to 30s, scruffy appearance, wearing a black coat with a gray sweatshirt underneath, and blue jeans.

A $10,000 reward is being offered for information. Tips can be called in to (253) 591-5959 or 866-977-2362.


Violent felon granted clemency by Huckabee now sought in Lakewood, WA police ambush
A deadly ambush at a coffee shop near Tacoma, Washington on Sunday morning left four police officers dead. A vigil attended by an estimated 700 mourners and well-wishers was held Sunday night for the fallen at Champion’s Center church in Tacoma.

The man being sought by police was granted clemency by former GOP Arkansas Mike Huckabee despite his violent history and vehement protestations from prosecutors and victims’ family members.

He was most recently in jail for alleged second-degree rape of a child.

This isn’t Huckabee’s first Horton moment.

Maurice Clemmons, the 37-year-old Tacoma man being sought for questioning in the killing of four Lakewood police officers this morning, has a long criminal record punctuated by violence, erratic behavior and concerns about his mental health.

Nine years ago, then-Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee granted clemency to Clemmons, commuting his lengthy prison sentence over the protestations of prosecutors.

Maurice Clemmons, man wanted for questioning, has long criminal history

Maurice Clemmons, the 37-year-old Tacoma man being sought for questioning in the killing of four Lakewood police officers this morning, has a long criminal record punctuated by violence, erratic behavior and concerns about his mental health.

Nine years ago, then-Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee granted clemency to Clemmons, commuting his lengthy prison sentence over the protestations of prosecutors.

"This is the day I've been dreading for a long time," Larry Jegley, prosecuting attorney for Arkansas' Pulaski County said Sunday night when informed that Clemmons was being sought in connection to the killings.

Clemmons' criminal history includes at least five felony convictions in Arkansas and at least eight felony charges in Washington. The record also stands out for the number of times he has been released from custody despite questions about the danger he posed.

Clemmons had been in jail in Pierce County for the past several months on a pending charge of second-degree rape of a child.

He was released from custody just six days ago, even though he was wanted on a fugitive warrant out of Arkansas and was staring at eight felony charges in all out of Washington state.


Lakewood Police Independent Guild Press Release "May God bless you four who are in a place so much better than this; you are some of the finest professionals I have ever known. God bless our community today.

Brian D. Wurts, President
Lakewood Police Independent Guild"


Police surround Seattle home where person of interest in police shooting may be hiding

The Seattle Times

A SWAT team and police negotiators have surrounded a home in Seattle's Leschi neighborhood where the man sought for questioning in the Lakewood police shooting might be hiding.

Shortly after 12 a.m. today, a King County sheriff's armored vehicle was brought to the home, which was bathed in bright lights. Police began using loudspeakers, asking whoever was inside to call 911.

Police yelled over the loudspeakers, "Mr. Clemmons we want to minimize the situation."

Police responded to the home at East Yesler Way and 32nd Avenue South around 8:44 p.m. A woman who was leaving the home was stopped by officers and told them Maurice Clemmons was on the property and bleeding, according to a law enforcement source.

The woman told police that someone had dropped Clemmons off at a home, on East Superior Street.

"Whether he's in there or not is yet to be determined," said Ed Troyer, Pierce County sheriff's spokesman. "We have multiple operations going on ... We've found evidence of him at other locations and we have several operations going on."



Tacoma Fire Department raised their Ladders as the Motorcade arrived at the Pierce County Medical Examiners Office. Crowds gathered to show their support, American Flags held high and lined both sides of the street. It was quiet, an eerie silence, and tears fell as the motorcade passed.


Mike Huckabee's Statement Regarding Washington State Slayings

"The senseless and savage execution of police officers in Washington State has saddened the nation, and early reports indicate that a person of interest is a repeat offender who once lived in Arkansas and was wanted on outstanding warrants here and Washington State. The murder of any individual is profound tragedy, but the murder of a police officer is the worst of all murders in that it is an assault on every citizen and the laws we live within.
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. He was recommended for and received a commutation of his original sentence from 1990, making him parole eligible and was paroled by the parole board once they determined he met the conditions at that time. He was arrested later for parole violation and taken back to prison to serve his full term, but prosecutors dropped the charges that would have held him. It appears that he has continued to have a string of criminal and psychotic behavior but was not kept incarcerated by either 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. Our thoughts and prayers are and should be with the families of those honorable, brave, and heroic police officers."


Wild Thing's comment..........

Prayers for the officers and their loved ones. Nine children between the four cops. This is so sad.

This is so horrible. They said there were other people in the place but Clemmons only fired at the police officers and no one else.

Regarding Huckabee's statement, I'd like to feel the sincerity here, but given his record on clemency while he was Governor of Arkansas, I see this as no more than a swan-song for a has-been politician. I must have missed the mea culpa. have used at least an “I regret...” in there somewhere. He can’t even admit to making the decision to grant clemency, in fact he’s lying by omission when he claims the parole board released him. That the judge and prosecutor was against the release obviously didn’t sway Huckabee’s opinion. The parole board was forced to vote on parole, triggered by Huckabee’s clemency request. While they hold some blame for approving the request, Huckabee got the entire ball rolling.

That he refuses to admit to his part shows how little ethics means to Huckabee. But we all saw during last years campaign for President how he whined and constantly blamed Romney etc. for picking on him. Again I am NOT impressed with this man Huckabee at all.

As I am posting this it is around 4:30 a.m. Monday morning, the police are still looking for the Clemmons. Pray they find him soon.

Posted by Wild Thing at November 30, 2009 04:35 AM


Huckabee talks a good game but every time he's at bat he strikes out. Huckabee is a RINO and that will never change. One thing for sure, Liberals and their first cousin RINO's can't be trusted to safe guard this country or its children or dealing with violent criminals. He's a go along to get along and NOT a free thinking conservative.

Like Lindsey Graham said during a town Hall meeting when a constituent told him they were dissatisfied with his performance, Graham said, "well you can vote me out next time". This arrogant fat little bastard doesn't care what the people think. The son of a bitch believes "The Sheep" have a very short attention and can't read between the lines and when election time comes around all will be forgiven, Graham is a World Class Ass.

If we could get rid of the 17th Amendment we could get rid of 90 % of this problem.

Posted by: Mark at November 30, 2009 08:35 AM

Sorry Bear Nation but this DAV and LE patriot realizes that the trigger MEM & WOMEN were liberal judges, jurors, prosecutors and fellow ACLU and NAACP activists in this dispicable act!

KLM's legal eagles told O'Reilly last week that 2,996 slaughtered Americans and 120 foreign 9-11 victims weren't MURDERED unless a JURY can decide that they were!

Washington state is a democratic lune state and most police department unions endorsed Barack HUSSEIN Obama!

Posted by: darthcrUSAderworldtour07 at November 30, 2009 09:23 AM

Huckabee says it was a failure in the criminal justice system? The failure was him. It was his failure granting him clemency and not allowing him to serve his 35 year prison sentence. If that piece of garbage was still in prison, these 4 officers would still be alive and many other victims wouldn't have had to suffer because of him.

You screwed up Huckabee, big time. People are dead because of your actions. You can kiss your political career goodbye and hopefully your show at Fox.

Posted by: BobF at November 30, 2009 09:28 AM

I sure do hope this ends Huckabee'e political career. He is a Rino. His self serving gave us McCain as the GOP nominee last year.

As BobF points out, the execution of those 4 police officers can be partially blamed on Huckabee's commutation of Maurice Clemmon's prison sentence.

Posted by: TomR at November 30, 2009 10:38 AM

Has the dIC a/k/a jeja* weighed in yet? Has he told us not to rush to judgment? Probably too busy playing golf. Or something. We know he isn't working on the Afghanistan situation [wait! that is supposed to be announced at his speech he's giving at West Point, today. My Dad went to West Point. My Dear Father is, no doubt, getting ready to get up out of his grave at that one - the jeja at West Point.] And, even if he does throw his useless $.02 in, it will be something like, "the Seattle police acted stupidly..." Oh, let him. Just let him!

Agree with you, Mark, about Huckabee. Let's hope BobF is right and that his political career is finished. Just stick a fork in it and call it done. [Far as I'm concerned his show on Fox should be, too. Does anyone actually watch it? I tried. Now I change the channel if it is on. Fox needs to give Charles Krauthammer his own show!]

Thoughts, prayers and heartfelt sympathies to the families of these four officers.

*dither-In-chief a/k/a jug-eared-jack-ass

Posted by: BT in SA at November 30, 2009 10:41 AM

BT in SA, that would be Coward in Chief. (CinC)Oh and BTW, I believe Maurice Clemmons is non caucasian. And has anyone noticed all of the blacks that are now appearing in TV commercials while they only represent 14% of the population? There is something very fucked up going on in our country and I find it very unsettling.

Posted by: Eddie (Enemy of the State) at November 30, 2009 11:25 AM

In the case of the Clemency the Governor has the final say so, he has to sign off on it. They can blame anyone they want this scum bad was supposed to be in for 35 years. Even the Republicans have their own version of Michael Dukakis. Two peas in a pod.

Posted by: Mark at November 30, 2009 12:14 PM

This is indeed a tragic situation. I have a friend from high school who works with the King County Sheriffs. He must have known these 4 fine officers and I thank God it wasn't Rob. It is sad that this evil man had been granted clemency by Huckabee and it might have some bearing in him having a good shot at the Presidency in 2012. The media will not let it go. They will continue to drag it up over and over again.

Posted by: Lynn at November 30, 2009 02:01 PM

Yesterday 4 of my neighbors died, all police officers, by a career criminal formerly sentenced to 64 years in Arkansas. Why? Let me begin, Liberalism, that's why!!!
One of our nations 2008 presidential candidates can be held directly accountable for this, not to absolve all those mid level lawyers and judges for their complicity in this heinous act. Here is that man's record on paroles and commutations.For those of us who are fans of Sarah Palin we get very ill with the RINO's who stand before Fox's camera's and preach virtue then work behind the scenes to release this upon the unsuspecting populace. This person was paroled by the person who has been the minstrel show leader on Fox who has had his face before the public for one reason, 2010 and 2012 elections. I'll vote for Hugo Chavez before voting for the Huckster.

Like it or not these are my neighbors, one of Lakewood's police officers lives less than a mile from me, I met him coming and going every day as we commuted to work a few years ago. I can feel his anguish and it is painful for me. The Soviet of Washington has claimed 4 more lives due to their liberals and their sanctuary laws. Don't go getting me wrong, I have little use for law enforcement who work for the government oppressors, but a lot of respect for keepers of the peace who work for the people, there is a distinction lost on most people between the two. Fircrest on Lakewood's north has the former, Boss Hogg and Barney Fife types.

Posted by: Jack at November 30, 2009 04:06 PM

The Washington state shootings were tragic. And my prayers go out to the families of the lost officers. Mike Huckabee need not look to the White House in 2012. His record for pardons and clemency in Arkansas is dismal. First Wayne DuMond who was released because of his actions and went on to rape and kill in Missouri and now Maurice Clemmons who evidently killed in Washington state. Arkansas's leading export is becoming killers thanks to the likes of bleeding hearts like Huckabee.

Posted by: Ron Russell at November 30, 2009 06:44 PM

Huckabee seems to have a pretty good track record in releasing criminals so they can rape and murder. In 1999 he turned Wayne DuMond loose who went to Missouri and raped and killed a young woman.

Posted by: BobF at November 30, 2009 10:09 PM

I just now checked and the news says
Clemmons is " still at large". I sure
hope they catch him soon.

Posted by: Wild Thing at December 1, 2009 12:12 AM