Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee Granted Clemency In 2000 To Man Sought In Connection To Killings

Four police officers were gunned down in an execution-style ambush at a coffee shop in Washington state, triggering a manhunt for a convicted armed robber with a history of violence.

Pierce County Sheriff's Office spokesman Ed Troyer said the victims were sitting at a table in the cafe before their shift when a lone gunman entered and started shooting at around 8:15 am (1615 GMT) local time.

"We have somebody out there who blatantly went in and opened fire on four police officers, killing all four of them," Troyer said following the shooting near McChord Air Force base in Tacoma, south of Seattle.

Late Sunday the identities of the victims -- who were all wearing uniform including bulletproof vests at the time of the attack -- were released.

The dead were named as Sergeant Mark Renninger, 39, Ronald Owens, 37, Tina Griswold, 40, and Greg Richards, 42. All of the officers were married with children, police said

Troyer said the officers, from nearby Lakewood Police Department, had been specifically targeted, noting that staff and customers at the coffee shop had not been shot at. "This was more of an execution. Walk in with the specific mindset to shoot police officers."

The suspected gunman was described as a "black male in his 20s or 30s" Troyer told reporters. "He walked in with a handgun, opened fire multiple times and fled the scene," he said.

Pierce County Sheriff's Office said later Sunday they were seeking Maurice Clemmons, 37, for questioning as a "person of interest in the case."

The Seattle Times reported that he has eight felony charges in Washington state and five felony convictions in Arkansas. He had been in jail in Pierce County for several months until recently, pending a charge of second-degree rape of a child.


Clemmons served only a fraction of a 35-year prison term in Arkansas before his sentence was controversially commuted by the state's then Governor Mike Huckabee, who mounted an unsuccessful bid for the Republican presidential nomination in 2008, the Times added.

Troyer earlier told King 5 local television that one of the mortally wounded officers may have traded fire with the gunman.

"There is evidence that a Lakewood Police officer fired off some shots and we hope that he hit him," Troyer said. "If he's hit, that means that he's injured somewhere with a gunshot wound."

Troyer said local hospitals had been alerted in case the suspect sought medical attention.

Police set up tiplines and offered a 10,000-dollar reward for anyone with information about those responsible for the shooting.

Around 200 officers from different law enforcement agencies were involved in the hunt for the shooting suspect late Sunday, police said.

"We have no motive at all," Troyer told King 5. "I don't think when we find out what it is, it will be anything that makes any sense or be worth it."

Washington Governor Chris Gregoire voiced his shock at the shootings, which local media said was the worst single loss of life involving law enforcement officers in state history.

"I am shocked and horrified at the murder of four police officers this morning in Pierce County," Gregoire said.



This video was published by the Associated Press on Sunday, Nov. 29, 2009.

Read the original article in The Raw Story


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