End of Watch: 11/29/2009
Agency: Lakewood Police Department
County: Pierce County
On November 29, 2009 at about 0800 hours, Lakewood Police Sergeant Mark Renninger, Officer Tina Griswold, Officer Ronnie Owens and Officer Greg Richards were at the Forza Coffee Company, located at 11401 South Steele Street in the Parkland area of unincorporated Pierce County.
Sergeant Renninger, Officer Griswold and Officer Owens were seated at a table. Sergeant Renninger and Officer Owens had their laptop computers out, while Officer Griswold had food and drink in front of her. Officer Richards was at the counter placing an order when Maurice Clemmons entered the coffee shop.
Clemmons walked directly to the table where the officers were sitting. He turned and produced a Glock 9mm semiautomatic handgun. He shot Officer Griswold in the back of the head, killing her instantly. Clemmons then turned and shot Sergeant Renninger in the ride side of the head, killing him instantly. The Glock malfunctioned as Officer Owens got up from his seat, closed the distance and became engaged in a physical fight. During the fight, Clemmons produced a .38 caliber revolver and shot Officer Owens in the head, killing him instantly.
Officer Richards had also closed the distance on Clemmons, but from a much greater distance than Officer Owens, before he was engaged in a physical fight with Clemmons. During this fight, Clemmons fired the .38 multiple times, hitting different locations inside the shop, until it was empty. Also during the fight, Officer Richards’ Taser and Taser holster were removed from his belt, indicating that the Taser was torn from his belt and not drawn. As the fight continued, Officer Richards’ duty weapon, a .40 Glock, was removed from its holster. Officer Richards shot Clemmons once in the torso. Clemmons was then able to gain control of Officer Richards’ pistol at the front door of the shop, where he shot him in the head, killing him instantly.
Clemmons fled the scene on foot to a truck waiting for him driven by Darcus Allen.
On December 1, 2009 at about 0240 hours, Seattle Police Officer Ben Kelly was in the 4400 block of South Kenyon Street when he spotted a white 1990 Acura Integra parked on the side of the road, running with its hood up. The Acura had been stolen about two hours earlier, only five blocks away. As Officer Kelly was completing his paperwork in his patrol car, he observed a black male about fifty feet to the rear of his patrol car, walking down the middle of the street towards him. Officer Kelly exited his patrol car and confronted the man who was now at the area of the rear bumper of his patrol car. As the man looked up, Officer Kelly immediately recognized him as Clemmons and ordered him to show his hands as he drew his gun. Clemmons moved his hands toward his sweatshirt pocket and ran around to the front of Officer Kelly’s patrol car. Officer Kelly fired three shots and then four more as Clemmons turned and attempted to flee. Clemmons was struck multiple times and collapsed face down on a walkway leading to a home.
Officer Kelly attempted to call out shots fired, but he was “bonked” three times and unable to get through due to radio traffic. He grabbed his shotgun and then was able to contact radio. Within seconds, multiple SPD units arrived on scene. Using a ballistic shield, a team of officers approached Clemmons and took him into custody. He was declared dead at the scene by Seattle Fire Department medics. A search of Clemmons’ located Officer Richards’ pistol, found inside the front sweatshirt pocket, stuck on the zipper.
Officer Owens served the Lakewood Police Department for five years and had a total of twelve years of law enforcement service. He is survived by his daughter and family.