Maurice Clemmons, an ex-con, is a person of interest in today’s murders of four Lakewood police in Tacoma, Washington. Clemmons has an long criminal history and is believed to have been in the area where the shootings occurred. Clemmons was recently arrested and charged for assaulting a police officer in Washington state, as well as second-degree rape of a child. Unbelievably, the man was allowed to post a $150,000 bail. See Update 11-30-01 9:40 a.m. CDT. 11:00 a.m. – University of Washington being searched. Update 12-01-09: Clemmons is dead. Details below.
Clemmons, recently residing in Tacoma, Washington, is a violent man with a long criminal history in Arkansas, where then-Governor Mike Huckabee once communted a lengthy prison sentence.
In 1989, Clemmons, then 17, was convicted in
Little Rock for aggravated robbery. He was paroled in 2000 after
Huckabee commuted Clemmons’ 95-year prison sentence. Huckabee, who was
criticized during his run for the Republican presidential nomination in
2008 for granting many clemencies and commutations, cited Clemmons’
youth. Clemmons later violated his parole, was returned to prison and
released in 2004.
Larry Jegley, the prosecuting attorney for Arkansas’ Pulaski Country said he had been dreading this day. This from the Seattle Times:
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 was staring at
seven additional felony charges in Washington state.
Clemmons posted $15,000 with a Chehalis company called Jail Sucks
Bail Bonds. The bondsman, in turn, put up $150,000, securing Clemmons’
release on the pending child-rape charge.
Clemmons lives in Tacoma, where he has run a landscaping and
power-washing business out of his house, according to a police
interview with his wife earlier this year.
He was married, but the relationship was tumultuous, with accounts
of his unpredictable behavior leading to at least two confrontations
with police earlier this year.
During the confrontation in May, Clemmons punched a sheriff’s deputy
in the face, according to court records. As part of that incident, he
was charged with seven counts of assault and malicious mischief.
In another instance, Clemmons was accused of gathering his wife and
young relatives around at 3 or 4 in the morning and having them all
undress. He told them that families need to “be naked for at least 5
minutes on Sunday,” a Pierce County sheriff’s report says.
“The whole time Clemmons kept saying things like trust him, the
world is going to end soon, and that he was Jesus,” the report says.
As part of the child-rape investigation, the sheriff’s office
interviewed Clemmons’ sister in May. She told them that “Maurice is not
in his right mind and did not know how he could react when contacted by
Law Enforcement,” a sheriff’s report says.
“She stated that he was saying that the secret service was coming to
get him because he had written a letter to the President. She stated
his behavior has become unpredictable and erratic. She suspects he is
having a mental breakdown,” the report says.
Deputies also interviewed other family members. They reported that
Clemmons had been saying he could fly and that he expected President
Obama to visit to “confirm that he is Messiah in the flesh.”
Prosecutors in Pierce County were sufficiently concerned about
Clemmons’ mental health that they asked to have him evaluated at
Western State Hospital. Earlier this month, on Nov. 6, a psychologist
concluded that Clemmons was competent to stand trial on the child-rape
and other felony charges, according to court records.
Clemmons moved Washington in 2004, after being released from prison
in Arkansas, state Department of Corrections records indicate. That
would mean he had gone five years or so before landing in serious
trouble with authorities here, according to a review of his criminal
Clemmons started Sea-Wash Pressure Washing Landscaping with his
wife, Nicole Smith, in October 2005. The license for the business
expired last month.
The Seattle Times led with a SWAT team surrounding a house in the Leschi home in Seattle last night, and a woman saying that Clemmons was on the property and bleeding. The article went on with no other explanation.
However, the UK’s TimesOnline is quoting police saying, just one hour ago that Clemmons has been shot and “well might be dead.” A house is surrounded and they believe Clemmons is holed-up inside.
But as I write this, FOX is saying they thought they had him cornered and trapped inside his Aunt’s house, but now they say he is not inside the house. He has a gunshot wound to his abdomen, and he is armed. Police say they know he was inside the house, but he is not there now.
There is evidence that Clemmons got off of a bus at the University of Washington. UW is being searched this moment and is under alert.
A police officer stopped a stolen car in Rainier Valley in south Seattle, and shot and killed Maurice Clemmons. About 2:45 a.m. this morning, on South Kenyon Street, an unidentified, lone officer, said Clemmons was returning to the stolen vehicle as the police officer was checking it. The hood was up and the motor was running. The policeman recognized Clemmon, ordered him to stop and show his hands. Clemmons did not follow the orders and began to run away. The officer fired.
Three associates of Clemmons have been arrested and up to seven others
could be arrested for helping the suspect make his way from the
Lakewood/Parkland area to Seattle, according to Pierce County sheriff’s
spokesperson Ed Troyer. The associates provided shelter, transit, cell
phones and other assistance to Clemmons, Troyer says. Now, “They’re
going to pay for it,” he adds.
A blogger living in the area of Forenza Coffee, and who linked to this report, says that Clemmons was living under the name Maurice Smith at 1118 131st. St. S. in Tacoma.
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