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In Tacoma, Washington this afternoon, prosecutors are preparing to charge a number of people they believe provided assistance to an accused cop killer. Maurice Clemmons evaded authorities for more than a day after he allegedly ambushed and killed four police officers on Sunday. Early this morning he was shot to death by a Seattle policeman.
NPRs Martin Kaste has the latest.
MARTIN KASTE: Clemmons met his end shortly after 2 a.m. when an officer patrolling a residential neighborhood in South Seattle discovered an empty car idling in the street. The encounter was almost accidental, says Assistant Police Chief Nick Metz.
Mr. NICK METZ (Assistant Police Chief): This was a situation where the officer just was simply checking out a suspicious vehicle, realizing it was stolen and was just taking the actions that any officer would take and then noticed the subject coming up from behind him.
KASTE: Metz says when the patrolman ordered Clemmons to show his hands, Clemmons refused and ran. The officer shot him to death. Police say Clemmons was armed with a gun taken from one of the four Lakewood officers killed on Sunday. Less than three hours later, still well before sunrise, Lakewood Police Chief Bret Farrar stood close to the spot where Clemmons was shot, now cordoned off with police tape, and thanked his colleagues from other departments.
Mr. BRET FARRAR (Lakewood Police Chief): I knew that they would bring this to a resolution, they would find this person and this person would be arrested or found.
KASTE: Things didnt look so sure yesterday.
(Soundbite of police scanner)
Unidentified Man: 5110 South (unintelligible) Street.
KASTE: On police scanners, officers could be heard criss crossing Seattle, following any tip that might lead to Clemmons.
Unidentified Man: Oh, we got a lot of blood up here in the park.
KASTE: Blood trails were a special interest because investigators believed Clemmons had been wounded by one of the officers during the attack. Pierce County sheriffs spokesman Ed Troyer says now that investigators have seen Clemmons body, they know they were right about that.
Mr. ED TROYER (Spokesman, Pierce County Sheriff Office): The wound was severe. In fact, after looking at the wound where he was shot and the job the Lakewood officer did, Im surprised he survived it.
KASTE: He says Clemmons had an amateurish bandage on the wound. Police and prosecutors are now turning their attention to people they say helped Clemmons while he was on the run.
Mr. TROYER: Some are friends, some are acquaintances, some are partners in crime and some are relatives.
KASTE: Already this afternoon, prosecutors have begun the process of charging those friends and relatives, some of whom are in custody. As to Clemmons, its still not clear what his motive might have been. Investigators say he might've been angry about the multiple felony charges he was facing. But at least one family member has come forward to say Clemmons had gone insane.
Martin Kaste, NPR News, Seattle.
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