Tip after tip, lead after lead, investigators in two counties fielded calls and reported sightings of suspected cop killer Maurice Clemmons throughout Monday, only to be left frustrated and empty-handed as the manhunt stretched into its third day.
Police believe Clemmons, 37, the suspect in Sunday’s killing of four Lakewood police officers, is wounded, armed and receiving help in eluding capture.
“He has been shot and he is armed and he knows we are looking for him,” said Pierce County sheriff’s spokesman Ed Troyer. “We believe him to be very desperate and dangerous.”
Clemmons reportedly told acquaintances Saturday to watch the TV news because he planned to “shoot police,” Troyer said.
Arrest warrants were issued Monday for Clemmons for failing to comply with the conditions of his release in two previously filed criminal cases.
Puyallup police spokesman Lt. Dave McDonald said investigators have checked out hundreds of locations since the officers were gunned down Sunday morning in a Parkland coffee shop.
Killed were Sgt. Mark Renninger, 39, and officers Ronald Owens, 37; Tina Griswold, 40; and Greg Richards, 42.
“We expect to follow all the leads,” said McDonald, acting as spokesman for the investigation. “It’s a true manhunt.”
Investigators believe Clemmons, who was wounded in the torso during the shooting, is getting help, McDonald said.
“It’s apparent people are helping him,” McDonald said. “Anyone helping him … will be held accountable.”
On Monday night, police surrounded a house in the Renton area, where a relative of Clemmons lives and was taken into custody, according to The Seattle Times. The relative is believed to have helped Clemmons elude capture, according a law enforcement source.
While the on-scene investigation continued in Pierce County, the manhunt focused at several Seattle locations.
What initially looked like a hot trail that led scores of officers to the home of Clemmons’ aunt in Seattle’s Leschi neighborhood late Sunday cooled early Monday, as SWAT teams that stormed the home after an hours-long standoff found it empty.
Still, police said Clemmons had been at the home – and they cautioned he still might be in Seattle.
“I’m not going to get into the details, but we do have evidence that the suspect was there,” Seattle police detective Jeff Kappel said.
In the hours after that fruitless standoff, citizen tips sent police scurrying to locations across the city, as officers converged on a series of potential hot spots: the University of Washington campus. A Beacon Hill duplex and park. An International District home. A Ravenna-area park.
But nothing panned out.
“We’ve been responding to call after call,” Seattle police spokesman Mark Jamieson said. “But in each and every one of these cases, nothing has led us to the suspect.” Still, police urged the public to continue calling in leads.
“The quicker we can get him into custody, the better for everyone,” Kappel said.
At the crime scene, the investigation and land search continued Monday. Investigators believe they have found the gun used in the slayings at the Forza Coffee Co. shop, 11401 S. Steele St.
The Sheriff’s Department moved the command post from the crime scene to Pierce County Emergency Operations Center, 2501 S. 35th St., late Monday.
Agents at the U.S.-Canadian border also were on the lookout.
They’ve been running “outbound operations,” meaning they are checking people and goods leaving the United States, said Chief Thomas Schreiber with U.S. Customs and Protection.
Lewis Kamb: 253-597-8542
Staff writers Stacey Mulick, Adam Lynn, Mike Archbold and John Henrikson and The Associated Press contributed to this report. How to help
• The Lakewood Police Independent Guild is accepting donations for the families of the slain officers. Write checks to the LPIG Benevolent Fund and send to PO Box 99579 Lakewood, WA 98499.
• Forza Coffee Co. has set up donation boxes in its stores for the families.
• Parkland-area pastors will hold a prayer vigil tonight at 6:30 at Pacific Church, 3211 112th St. E.