The search for a man suspected of fatally shooting four uniformed officers south of Tacoma, Wash., expanded to this city and beyond on Monday with a flurry of police sweeps and SWAT team investigations. Details also emerged that the suspect had told people that he planned to “shoot some cops,” the police said.
“The information our investigators got is, he said the night before, ‘Watch TV tomorrow; I’m going to shoot some cops,’” said Hunter George, a spokesman for Pierce County, whose sheriff’s office is leading the investigation. “Unfortunately, nobody reported that.”
The suspect, Maurice Clemmons, 37, has a lengthy criminal history, including pending felony charges of raping a 12-year-old relative and assaulting police officers. He had been released on bail last week.
Clemmons continued to elude the authorities on Monday as the police pursued a confusing range of tips that he had been seen in several places across Seattle, from a park in the Beacon Hill neighborhood to the University of Washington.
Officials posted a bulletin on Twitter saying the suspect could be in the university district and urging students to stay alert. Later in the day, the police said they were looking for a green 1997 Mazda Millennia and were monitoring the state’s borders, but the search for the car was soon called off.
The police offered a reward of $125,000 for information leading to Clemmons’ capture.
Earlier Monday, after a tip from Pierce County investigators, Seattle police officials believed that they had cornered Clemmons in a house in the city’s Leschi neighborhood. After officers surrounded the house, flooded it with spotlights and sent a robot to approach it, SWAT teams entered, only to find that he was not there, said Detective Mark Jamieson, a spokesman for the Seattle Police Department.
“We have more concrete evidence that the suspect was at that location,” Jamieson said. “We don’t know if he was in the house, but he was seen at that location.”
Pierce County sheriff’s officials said they believed that Clemmons suffered a gunshot wound on Sunday morning outside the coffee shop near Lakewood where the four officers were killed as they worked on laptops preparing for a patrol shift. Officials said earlier that there was evidence that one of the four officers had chased the gunman outside as he fled and fired shots, striking the suspect before dying of gunshot wounds.