2 Dec 2009

Cafe shootings suspect shot dead, say police

11:05 pm on 2 December 2009

An officer investigating a stolen car on a Seattle street has shot dead the man accused of gunning down four police officers at the weekend, according to US police.

Maurice Clemmons, 37, was killed in Seattle early on Tuesday, said Assistant Police Chief Jim Pugel.

He said the officer recognised Mr Clemmons and told him to stop, before opening fire after the suspect tried to flee, the BBC reports.

Four people have been arrested for allegedly helping the suspect elude authorities during the two-day manhunt.

The victims - Sergeant Mark Renninger and officers Ronald Owens, Tina Griswold and Greg Richards - were singled out as they did paperwork at a cafe in a suburb of Tacoma, near Seattle, on Sunday morning.

Mr Pugel said Mr Clemmons was found by a patrolman who stopped about 2.45am local time on Tuesday to investigate a car reported stolen.

While the officer was making inquiries about the vehicle, which was unoccupied with the engine running, he noticed a movement behind him.

The officer turned to find a man he believed to be Mr Clemmons. He ordered the man to stop and show his hands, but the suspect tried to run away, and he was fired at. The officer was not injured.

Mr Pugel also said that Mr Clemmons was found to be carrying a handgun taken from one of the dead officers.

He also had a recent gunshot wound in the abdomen, believed to have been inflicted by one of the dying officers who shot at Mr Clemmons as he fled.

The case has sparked anger across the US after it emerged that Mr Clemmons had been released from prison despite a history of violent crime.

His 95-year sentence in Arkansas was commuted in 2000 by then governor Mike Huckabee.

Mr Clemmons quickly reverted to crime. He was back in prison in 2004, but released again later that year.