November 29, 2009 Print

To protect and serve

We grieve and mourn tonight.

Four of those who protect and serve us were gunned down today in a Pierce County.
Officer Ronald Owens, Sgt. Mark Renninger, Officer Tina Griswold, and Officer Greg Richards, all four Lakewood, Wash. police officers - all with families - were brutally murdered early this morning when a gunman walked into a coffee shop where they were preparing for their day's work and opened fire targeting them.
Others who were in the coffee shop at the same time escaped unscathed - the gunman never pointed his weapon at them, which says the four were his target.
Why??? Who would do this?
News reports say that the police agency coordinating the investigation, the Pierce County Sheriff's Office, has a person of interest, one Maurice Clemmons, 37.  Quoted in Tacoma's News Tribune, the sheriff's office said this about him:

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.
Late Sunday night Twitter reports have Clemmons allegedly holed up in a building in Seattle's Leschi neighborhood surrounded by Seattle Police. The building is near where SPD Officer Timothy Brenton was gunned down execution-style two months ago. The standoff continues as of 11:15 p.m. PST.
Update:  As of 7:10 a.m. PST Monday, the house in Seattle's Leschi neighborhood in which alleged cop-killer Maurice Clemmons was reported to be holed up has now been searched by police. Clemmons was not found, but a gun was recovered at the scene. News reports have him at large.
This is a horrible day for the Puget Sound community, and it's the worst of all possible days for the families, colleagues, and friends of the slain officers. We forget how much we owe to those who protect and serve us until we either need them or we lose them. Collectively, the community is sick inside.
And it's growing outraged. If Clemmons turns out to be the one, a lot of questions will be asked and answers to them will be demanded. The public will be in no mood to settle for anything less than the truth and for a change in whatever policy would allow or tolerate having someone like him with his record walking about free.
Let's hear no more of closing prisons or turning felons loose in order to save a buck or not have to cut some other critically important state government function such as spending millions more than is necessary on new ferries just so that they can be built within the state.
Government has lost sight of its most critical function, which is, in the words of Thomas Sowell, "to provide a framework of law and order, within which the people are free to choose.”
When those whose job it is to protect us from harm cannot be protected from harm themselves, then what is to become of us? To whom will we turn? These questions are coursing through many minds this evening. Satisfactory answers elude most.
In the meantime, our thoughts, prayers, and deepest condolences go out to the families, colleagues, and friends of our four latest fallen heroes.
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