Monthly Archives: November 2009

“Crazy” cop-killing suspect allegedly raped wife’s young daughter, said he was Jesus

   In May, the wife of cop-shooting suspect Maurice Clemmons told authorities her husband had been acting “crazy” before he allegedly raped her daughter.

   He was in jail in Pierce County on that pending charge of second-degree child rape when he put down $15,000 to post bail last week.

   Court records released Monday afternoon show:

   * Clemmons told his victim “the world is going to end soon and that he was Jesus,” according to an affidavit.

  * Clemmons told his victim and his wife’s teen son “they all needed to get naked because it was Sunday and they all needed to be naked for at least five minutes together on Sunday. ” They complied “because they were all afraid of the way the defendant was acting and how he had fought with the police a few days prior.” The molestation and rape of the young female occurred in another room later.

  * Only days before the alleged rape, Clemmons went on a “rampage,” “throwing rocks through windows and at various cars in the neighborhood,” including his family’s own vehicle, according to a probable cause affidavit. He and two men — apparently his cousins — fought with responding deputies. (Clemmons “ran out of the house and immediately punched Deputy Christian in the face.”) “Both deputies suffered injuries as a result of the fight.” Clemmons’ wife declined to press domestic violence charges.

  * Clemmons’ wife told deputies that the couple “argued over a newly discovered child” and she “theorized that this argument precipitated the rampage.” The records do not elaborate.

At the Henry Art Gallery — gifts in motion

Lewis Hyde opened The Gift: Imagination and the Erotic Life of Property by describing a rift in understanding between Pilgrims and Indians. Because the latter expected that gifts would stay in motion, the English called them “Indian givers,” meaning, those who take gifts back.

From the Indian point of view, wrote Hyde, the Pilgrims might have been called “white man keepers (or maybe capitalists, that is, people whose instinct is to remove property from circulation…)

Read more here.

Seattle City Council passes nuisance ordinance to combat “neighbors from hell”

 City Councilmember Tim Burgess had promised beleaguered residents and business owners that help is on the way for dealing with what some call “the neighbors from hell” — the scattered properties, motels and residences where criminal behavior becomes chronic. On Monday afternoon, it happened: The City Council voted to adopt a Chronic Nuisance Property ordinance on an 8-0 vote (Richard Conlin excused). 

  The ordinance is “designed to stop frequent criminal activity at commercial and residential properties across the city,” Burgess wrote on his City Views blog after the vote. “We have worked on this legislation for just over a year and it was personally gratifying that all of my colleagues supported this work.”

  According to Burgess:

The new law will help people protect their neighborhoods, including some who have lived with drug trafficking, prostitution, and other street-level crime for years.  Unfortunately, there are some property owners who don’t care about their neighbors and they allow all sorts of criminal behavior to flourish.  These owners destroy neighborhoods and the Council said today with its vote that we’ve had enough.

The legislation gives the city an additional tool against property owners who knowingly and repeatedly allow criminal activity on their property and fail to take steps to stop it.  Under the ordinance, following police investigation, the city can seek a court determination that a specific property is a chronic nuisance.  Court-ordered penalties could include fines up to $500 per day that the nuisance continues, a $25,000 fine if a property owner fails to respond to city attempts to resolve the nuisance, and other nuisance abatement steps the court may impose. 



As PostGlobe’s Joe Copeland wrote previously, the city had tried to use existing powers to force improvements at several motels along Aurora Avenue in north Seattle, but neighbors told the council’s public safety committee that the new chronic nuisance property is badly needed (earlier PostGlobe coverage is here). At least one West Seattle woman also testified at that earlier committee meeting. She said she lives near townhouses where the landlord doesn’t screen tenants properly.

“My home is not a refuge,” she said. “It is more like a war zone.”

Angela Reed live at C & P Coffee

10 years after WT0, InvestigateWest to tell story of ‘Seattle grown up’ — in Copenhagen

As the orderly column of peaceful protest marchers rounded a corner in downtown Seattle, the scene changed suddenly. And dramatically. People were running every which way. Smoke billowed from dumpsters set afire. A young man ran past me clutching the silver “N” he had just snatched from above the entrance to the Niketown store. A voice behind me boomed into a megaphone: 

Everybody go down this alley – we think we’ve found a back way into the hotel!

I turned around to see that the guy with the megaphone was Michael Moore – the filmmaker, not the guy by the same name in charge of the World Trade Organization. It was the WTO’s presence in Seattle that sparked this scene 10 years ago today, as 40,000 or more protesters descended on the city.

Read more here.

Cop shootings show that when the dangerously mentally ill don’t get help, everyone pays

A man with a troubled history of violence bounces through the Arkansas mental health and criminal justice systems, finally ending up sick and dangerous on the streets of Washington state, where he commits violent attacks against strangers.

It happened two years ago in Seattle, when James A. Williams stabbed and killed Shannon Harps outside her Capitol Hill apartment. And it may have happened again in Parkland, near Tacoma, on Sunday morning. Police  throughout the region currently are looking for Maurice Clemmons, who they want to question in connection with the incident.

Read more here.

Did KING news helicopter obstruct officers in Lakewood Police killings?

Did Sky KING go too far, possibly obstructing the ongoing investigation into the killings of four Lakewood Police officers Sunday?

The Pierce County Sheriff’s Department told The News Tribune it “intends to forward reports to prosecutors after officials said a Seattle television station’s helicopter interfered with the investigation of the slain police officers.”

According to statements attributed to Sheriff’s spokesman Ed Troyer, the KING-TV helicopter “refused to back off “ when told it was disrupting officers on the ground, and the station “reportedly said they didn’t have to” and returned. In the News Tribune report, KING news director Mark Ginther is paraphrased saying the station’s helicopter was flying within the Federal Aviation Administration’s guidelines.

An account of the incident today on broadcast industry Web site says KIRO-TV quoted Ginther as saying that “the station complied with FAA regulations at all times and moved the chopper every time it was requested to do so by local police authorities.”

It’s no wonder the public loses faith in the media when reporters and film crews get in the way of something as vital to public safety as this murder investigation, with the gunman still on the loose.

What’s your opinion on what limits and restraints the media should be under in such an ongoing story of public importance.

Zambia AIDS orphan to speak at SPU

From Larry Johnson’s blog: Looking for Trouble.

Tuesday is World AIDS Day, and to mark the occasion Seattle Pacific University is sponsoring a speech by Princess Zulu, a woman who grew up an AIDS orphan in Zambia.

According to the press release, “for someone with the first name of ‘Princess,’ this HIV-positive Zambian woman certainly has not lived a charmed life.”

She now lives in the United States with her daughters, Joy and Faith, and speaks across the nation to spread awareness about the AIDS epidemic. Zulu has spoken with President George W. Bush, the ONE campaign, World Vision, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and many others. Her visit to the SPU campus comes with the help of World Vision.

Zulu will share her story on Tuesday, December 1, at 7:30 p.m. in Beegle Hall 201 on the SPU campus. Her quest is to raise world awareness about AIDS, hunger, malaria, and poverty.

Following Zulu’s speech, the ACT:S club will hold a candlelight vigil in SPU’s Tiffany Loop. This will include a display of 1,000 crosses, which represent the number of people who die of HIV/AIDS every three hours.

The event is sponsored by ACT:S, an SPU student club concerned with poverty and injustice. The vigil is in collaboration with the international humanitarian non-profit organization World Concern.

For more information about the event, contact SPU News and Media Relations Manager Tracy Norlen at 206-281-2977 or ACT:S club representative Alyssa Musgrave at

Police search Leschi, UW for suspect in murder of 4 cops; call off Mazda search (updated)

Seattle police are continuing an intense manhunt for a man — possibly wounded and considered armed and dangerous — in the shooting that left four Lakewood police officers dead.

Officers of the Seattle Police SWAT operation overnight barricaded an area around a house in Leschi on the Lake Washington waterfront in Seattle for more than 10 hours, looking for a suspect in the weekend shooting at a coffee shop near Lakewood that left four police officers dead. They didn’t find him.

The Seattle Times is reporting that on Monday morning police turned the focus of their search to  the University of Washington campus. This from The Times:


The UW sent out an alert to staff, students and faculty, said UW police spokesman Jerome Solomon. He could not say what bus was involved, nor who called in the alleged sighting. He also couldn’t say where on campus (Maurice) Clemmons was spotted.

Former P-I reporter Lewis Kamb, now of the Tacoma News-Tribune, reported:

“…police searched several buildings and canvassed the campus at the University of Washington, after a transit bus driver reported dropping off a man who resembled Clemmons’ description near the campus at about 7 a.m. Campus police issued a warning to students, faculty and staff to be on alert for the suspect.

Police searched Cowen Park near UW this afternoon, reportedly after finding a blood trail, but have since backed off.

This from the Central District news:

The man they’re searching for is 37 year-old Maurice Clemmons, who is the suspect in the murder of those four officers. He is believed to have been wounded in the shooting, and earlier in the day Pierce County authorities put out a bulletin that he was a person of interest in the murder. Pierce County Sheriff spokesman Ed Troyer now says he is definitely a suspect and that it is unknown if he is dead or alive.

UPDATE 12:13 p.m.: “Police are searching for a green 1997 Mazda Millenia with Washington license plate 208-SSX. The vehicle is registered to Clemmons’ wife,” the Seattle Times reports. “Police said she may be headed to Arkansas.”


UPDATE 3:02 p.m.: Police are no longer seeking the green Mazda they said was registered to Clemmons’ wife,” Seattle Times reports. Washington State Patrol Trooper Brandy Kessler says it was sold two months ago, according to KIRO-7 news.

UPDATE 3:20 p.m. Seattle police say they will canvass the Leschi neighborhood with this information.

UPDATE 3:30 p.m. “There are still viable leads as to Maurice Clemmons’ whereabouts,” and “no valid tips outside of Washington, Puyallup police Lt. Dave McDonald said,” according to the Tacoma News Tribune. “Investigators have followed more than 100 physical leads so far. Many, many more tips have come in.”

UPDATE 5:23 p.m. Police are surrounding a home in Renton in search of the Lakewood shooting suspect, reports KOMO news.  He wasn’t there. It’s been a big day. The manhunt has taken police to farflung places, as detailed on this map.

UPDATE 8:54 p.m. Police search Skyway house. Clemmons remains at large.

Read more here.



* “Mike Huckabee’s Burden” by Timothy Egan

* Brenton family statement on the shootings; the family encourages donations be made to the families of the four slain officers here

* Border officers on alert for Clemmons

* The University of Washington issued this emergency alert

* Memo from Tacoma Police Chief Don Ramsdell on “one of the most heartbreaking and difficult days to fathom in Pierce County history”

* Seattle pastor’s poem for fallen officers

* People from all over the nation and beyond write condolences on the Lakewood Police Independent Guild Facebook page and another Facebook page called In Honor of 4 Lakewood Police Officers

Suspect still on loose in Lakewood cop killings — Seattle house surrounded

Police have entered a house in the Leschi neighborhood of Seattle where SWAT teams all night believed they had surrounded a suspect in the Sunday morning shooting deaths of four Lakewood Police officers.

KING-TV reports, however, that the suspect was not found inside the house.

Multiple media outlets have live reports from the scene of the SWAT operation, where the latest Associated Press story says negotiators were trying to communicate with Maurice Clemmons, 37, using loudspeakers and explosions to try to prod him from hiding. At one point, gunshots rang through the neighborhood, which is some 30 miles from the original crime scene, The AP reports this morning.

As a result of the standoff, the Leschi Elementary School has been closed this morning.

KOMO-TV online has a full history of Clemmons, who has a lengthy criminal record, including an early commute from a 95-year prison sentence in the state of Arkansas. He was just released on bond from jail in Pierce County a week ago.

All the police officers killed were original officers of the Lakewood Police Department, and all had children. The victims have been identified as Sgt. Mark Renninger, 39, and officers Ronald Owens, 37, Tina Griswold, 40, and Greg Richards, 42.

Sgt. Ed Troyer, Pierce County Sheriff’s spokesman has said that Clemmons may have been shot during the killings, which took place at a Lakewood coffee shop near McChord Air Force base.

The News Tribune of Tacoma has a complete biography of each officer.

In Lakewood, memorials have been growing through the night as the manhunt for Clemmons continued, and several Facebook pages have been established in honor of the slain officers.;share_id=222917033851&comments=1