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Dashcam Released of Lakewood Cop-Killer's Slaying

Dashcam Released of Lakewood Cop-Killer's Slaying

Police officers surround an ambulance carrying the body of Maurice Clemmons, suspected of killing four Lakewood police officers, after he was shot and killed by a Seattle patrolman.

Seattle Post Intelligencer via YellowBrix

April 07, 2010

SEATTLE – Deliberations are scheduled to continue Wednesday in the shooting inquest of the Seattle police officer who killed Maurice Clemmons, the man investigators say was responsible for the shooting deaths of four Lakewood police officers last November.

Seattle officer Ben Kelly fired seven shots at Clemmons and hit the suspect four times, a homicide detective testified Tuesday. When police found Clemmons collapsed in a yard, he was armed with one of the Lakewood officer’s handguns.

Police said one of the four officers killed, Greg Richards, fired back at Clemmons before dying Nov. 29 at the Forza Coffee Shop near Lakewood. One of the shots hit Clemmons in the back, but did not hit any major organs.

The wound would not have been fatal, Dr. Aldio Fusaro of the King County Medical Examiner’s Office testified Tuesday.

That gun Clemmons was found with was the same firearm police say he used to kill Richards at the coffee shop.

The six-person jury — narrowed Monday from a field of 30 — has a fact-finding mission, which is common after King County cases in which an officer uses deadly force. The jurors are to answer 19 questions in writing with one of three responses: “yes,” “no” or “unknown.”

Some ask if Kelly, a five-year police veteran, was briefed about Clemmons before starting his shift the night of November 30, and if he saw the stolen Acura at the scene where he found Clemmons. The gold-colored car was left running with the hood up.

Questions ask about Kelly’s interaction with Clemmons, and if the officer could determine his identity.

One asks if at the time Kelly fired the gun he believed “Clemmons presented an imminent threat of death or serious bodily injury” to the officer or others.

Kelly was approached about 2:40 a.m. in the 4400 block of South Kenyon Street while checking out an Aucra that had been reported stolen in the neighborhood. Kelly testified that he recognized Clemmons by the large mole on his left cheek.

A mug shot had been circulated among police departments and shown to Kelly before departing on his third-watch shift.

“The first thing that came into my mind is ‘OK, I’m kind of in trouble here, and I better do something,”’ Kelly told the court Monday in his first public talk about the incident.

Investigators say Clemmons had sworn to shoot anyone who tried to arrest him.

Kelly said he pulled his service weapon and shot when Clemmons was about four feet away. Investigators say Clemmons turned and reached for his waist.

“I thought I could be dead in a matter of seconds,” said Kelly, 39.

Clemmons then ran to a hedge at a nearby house. Kelly tried to call three times for help, but his radio didn’t work. Instead of following Clemmons, he grabbed a shotgun.Kelly testified he believed some of his rounds hit Clemmons, but feared for his life not being able to know where Clemmons ran.

The radio worked on his fourth attempt.

If jurors find the deadly force was unnecessary, the findings will be given to the county prosecutor, who will determine whether to file charges.

Kelly was placed on paid administrative leave after the shooting — a routine procedure — and returned to duty Jan. 1.

The inquest is expected to conclude Wednesday.

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