The Pierce County Sheriff’s Department has said they are looking for a person of interest in connection with this morning’s deadly shooting of four Lakewood police officers.
They are calling Maurice Clemmons, 37, a person of interest, not a suspect. He recently was released from jail and has extensive criminal history.
“He is somebody we want to talk to,” sheriff’s spokesman Ed Troyer said.
Investigators believe he was in the area.
Here’s the press release from the county:
The Pierce County Sheriff’s Department has identified a person of interest in the November 29, 2009, murder of four Lakewood Police officers. The person of interest is Maurice Clemmons, a 37 year old black male from the Parkland area of Pierce County. Clemmons is 5’8″ tall, 235 lbs., with black hair, brown eyes, and a mole on his left cheek.
Clemmons has extensive violent criminal history from Arkansas, including aggravated robbery and theft. He has also recently been arrested and charged in Pierce County for Assault 3rd on a Police Officer and for Rape of a Child.
Clemmons should be considered armed and extremely dangerous. If the public has any information on his whereabouts, call any tips to the Sheriff’s Department tip line at 1-866-977-2362.
UPDATE: Clemmons, described as a person of interest in the fatal shooting today of four Lakewood police officers, was granted clemency in 2004 by Mike Huckabee, then governor of Arkansas.
A 2004 news account from the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette described the decision:
Pulaski County prosecutors dropped aggravated-robbery charges Monday against a 32-year-old Little Rock man paroled in 2001 after Gov. Mike Huckabee commuted the man’s 95-year sentence.
Maurice Clemmons served 11 years after his conviction for aggravated robbery in 1989. He was paroled in August 2000. Huckabee cited Clemmons’ young age at the time of his sentence – 17 – in the proclamation announcing the clemency.
After his release from the state Department of Correction, Clemmons violated his parole and was returned to prison in July 2001. He was released March 18, 2004.
Little Rock police obtained a warrant charging Clemmons with two counts of aggravated robbery and theft in the March 26, 2001, robberies of Gary Ervin and Jennifer Chime. The robberies occurred when Clemmons was out on parole.
But the warrants were not served for three years until Clemmons, now 32, was being released from state prison.
Defense attorney Stephen Morley asked Circuit Judge Barry Sims to dismiss the new charges. Morley argued that too much time had elapsed between the issuance of the warrant and Clemmons’ arrest.
In a brief hearing Monday in Sims’ court, prosecutors announced they would drop the charges.
UPDATE No. 2: Local charges against Clemmons date to May and July. Jail records show Clemmons was arrested and released four times between May and September, and most recently released from jail Nov. 24, five days before the Lakewood shootings.
In May, Clemmons was charged with multiple counts of third-degree assault and malicious mischief. The May 9 incident occurred in the 13100 block of 12th Avenue South, court documents state. Clemmons and two accomplices were confronted about multiple vehicles with broken windows. A sheriff’s deputy tried to arrest the two accomplices, who fought.
During the struggle, Clemmons emerged from a house and joined in the fight, punching the deputy in the face. A second deputy arrived, and the three men were arrested. Jail records indicate Clemmons bailed out of jail on May 11.
In July, Clemmons was arrested and charged with second-degree child rape. He bailed out on July 27. Prosecutors also discovered that Clemmons had an outstanding arrest warrant from the state of Arkansas. The Arkansas warrant was dismissed in July.
Prosecutors trying to multiple charges ordered Clemmons to undergo a mental evaluation to determine his competency to stand trial. Clemmons was found competent, according to court records.