Four police officers were shot dead in an ambush at a Washington state coffee house, a sheriff’s official said Sunday.
The attack occurred east of McChord Air Force Base in Parkland, Wash.
Authorities said two suspects entered Forza Coffee shop and opened fire on the four police officers who were sitting inside, q13fox.com reported.
The officers were going over paper work before starting their day shift when they were killed, q13fox.com reported.
Pierce County Sheriff’s spokesman Ed Troyer told The News Tribune in Tacoma that the officers were sitting in the coffee shop with their computers when the shooter came in Sunday morning.
He says investigators believe the officers were targeted, and it was not a robbery.
Troyer tells the newspaper “it was just a flat out ambush.”
He could not immediately say what agency the officers were from.
There were other customers in the coffee shop but only the four officers were hit, according to Fox affiliate q13Fox.com.
There are two suspects, one male and one black male, q13Fox.com reported.
UPDATE: Killer may be wounded:
The man who killed four Lakewood police officers at a Parkland coffee shop may have been wounded by one of the officers.
Pierce County sheriff’s spokesman Ed Troyer told reporters at the scene that one of the officers struggled out the door and fired his gun at the attacker.
“There is evidence that a Lakewood Police officer fired off some shots, and we hope that he hit him,” said Troyer. “If he’s hit, that means that he’s injured somewhere with a gunshot wound.”
Troyer said local hospitals have been contacted in case the suspect seeks medical attention.
“He’s going to have to get that taken care of sometime, someplace,” said Troyer.
Troyer said the person may travel a distance and go to a hospital or medical center and claim that he accidentally shot himself.
“What we need is if somebody knows somebody who has a gunshot wound or has a fresh injury and is described as a black male between 25 and 35, rough face and hair, wearing a black coat, jeans, and has an injury, we want to know who that is,” said Troyer.
UPDATE II: Victims named; man sought in shooting had sentence commuted by Governor Huckabee in 2000:
Maurice Clemmons – a man with an extensive criminal history in Washington and Arkansas – was named as a person of interest. Investigators believe the shooter targeted the officers; witnesses and coffee shop staff were not injured.
Clemmons – who was still at large as hundreds of people watched a procession taking the slain officers from the scene – was a person of interest because of “past run-ins with law enforcement,” Pierce County Sheriff’s spokesman Ed Troyer.
“This was more of an execution,” Troyer said. “As cold-hearted as it is, that’s exactly what happened.”
Clemmons is 5-foot-8, 235 pounds with black hair, brown eyes and a mole on his left cheek. Police considered him armed and dangerous and were searching a home late Sunday night that he may be connected to.
Troyer said Clemmons has an extensive violent criminal history from Arkansas, including aggravated robbery and theft.
Nine years ago he was serving a 35-year prison term in Arkansas for armed robbery but his sentence was commuted by then-Gov. Mike Huckabee.
Recently he was charged in Pierce County for third-degree assault on a police officer and rape of a child.
One of the slain officers was Sgt. Mark Renninger, who grew up in Bethlehem, Penn., and moved to Washington after his military service, according to WFMZ-TV in Pennsylvania. A Facebook page also was set up in his honor.
“Mark was a professional, dedicated police officer who made the ultimate sacrifice,” his brother, Matt Renninger, said in a statement to the TV station. “More importantly, he was a loving and devoted father, husband and family member who will be missed by many.”
Renninger is survived by his wife, two daughters and a son. He has four brothers and a sister, his brother told WFMZ.
Lakewood police identified the other officers as Ronald Owen, Tina Griswold and Greg Richards.
Owen, 37, had 12 years of law enforcement experience. He is survived by a former wife and a daughter. Tina Griswold, 40, was a 14-year law enforcement experience and is survived by her husband and two children.
Richards, 42, had eight years of law enforcement experience and is survived by a wife and three children.