"Kill as many cops as possible."
Those words, reportedly uttered by Maurice Clemmons in the waning days of November, revealed the plan that burned his heart to cinders.
They appear in search warrant affidavits filed in Pierce County Superior Court this week – the written record of a desperate hunt for the man who gunned down four Lakewood police officers Sunday in a Parkland coffee shop.
Detectives believe Clemmons might have started plotting as far back as May, after he was arrested following a fight with sheriff’s deputies. They think he set up bank accounts – sources of money to tap while he fled from pursuers.
While he festered in the Pierce County Jail, the plan took shape. Clemmons talked of it incessantly to a confederate who later was arrested and charged with aiding his escape.
“A review of recorded phone conversations to Eddie Davis showed Maurice Clemmons’ continuous intent to commit this murder of law enforcement officers,” one affidavit reads. “Clemmons told Davis he was going to do something very big when he gets out.
“He went on to say everyone will be surprised, and it would be bigger than anyone could have expected.”
After Clemmons bailed out of jail for the third time on Nov. 23, the talk continued, even at the Thanksgiving table.
“Watch the news,” Clemmons told family members days before he killed the officers – Sgt. Mark Renninger, 39, and officers Tina Griswold, 40, Ronald Owens, 37, and Greg Richards, 42.
Four of the nine search warrant affidavits seek records from four banks in Seattle, Kent and Lakewood. Clemmons is dead, shot before dawn Tuesday by a Seattle police officer, but detectives and prosecutors are still building cases against those who allegedly helped him. The bank records mark the money trail.
“Determining who accessed Clemmons’ accounts following the shooting will allow investigators to determine who provided Clemmons with assistance in his attempts to evade law enforcement,” one affidavit states.
Investigators have one clear trace of financial aid – a transaction involving a pre-paid debit card.
An associate of Clemmons loaded “several hundred dollars” onto the card shortly after visiting a house where Clemmons stayed after the shooting, the affidavits say.
The affidavits provide new but sketchy details about Clemmons’ movements after the shooting.
TAPED PHONE CALL
On that Sunday, investigators spoke to Joseph Pitts, an associate of Clemmons who was in the Pierce County Jail. Pitts said he had no idea how to find Clemmons. That ended his interview with investigators – or so Pitts thought when he went back to his cell.
In fact, investigators were still monitoring him.
Pitts made a 20-minute phone call after his interview, recorded by jail staff members. The call turned into a three-way conference among Pitts, an unidentified woman and a man investigators believe to be Eddie Davis, another associate of Clemmons.
During the call, Pitts told Davis about his interview with detectives and said he had tried to call someone else. The affidavit hints that the someone else was Clemmons. Davis said, “He’s here,” and “He had to turn his phone off.”
Another unidentified man got on the call and spoke to Pitts, the affidavit says.
“No mention of the shooting directly was heard,” the affidavit states. “During this conversation, the female from the original call was monitoring the conversation and told the male voices to stop talking about it. She said she could get in trouble and they (law enforcement) will trace this call to her.”
ELECTRONIC ANKLE BRACELET
Another affidavit, tied to Clemmons’ home on South Asotin Street, refers to an electronic ankle bracelet Clemmons had been forced to wear by a bail bond company (Jail Sucks Bonds) as a condition of bailing out of jail Nov. 23.
The bracelet included a GPS tracker. The affidavit notes the bracelet sounded a “strap tamper alert” at 1:11 p.m. Sunday, about five hours after the shooting. Investigators found the detached bracelet when they searched the home.
Sean Robinson: 253-597-8486