Page last updated at 19:34 GMT, Monday, 30 November 2009

US police chief vows to catch killer of four officers


Police will 'triumph' after shootings, Chief Farrar vows

A gunman who shot dead four US police officers as they sat in a cafe in Washington State will be brought to justice, a police chief has vowed.

Lakewood Police Chief Bret Farrar described the four victims as "good people and great officers".

Earlier, police laid siege for several hours to the Seattle house where the chief suspect in the case, named as Maurice Clemmons, was believed to be.

But when officers stormed in, the property turned out to be empty.

Police said warrants for first-degree murder had been issued against Mr Clemmons and the search for him was continuing.

Maurice Clemmons, named in connection with the killings, in a file photo released by US police
Police have issued arrest warrants for Maurice Clemmons

Chief Farrar, his voice breaking with emotion, told a news conference that he had visited the families of the murdered officers.

"It was the hardest thing I have ever done and I hope I never have to do it again," he said.

"We will get through this, although it is a very difficult time for us and the families."

He praised police teams involved in the hunt for the killer and added: "There is no doubt in my mind that this person will be brought to justice."

The four police officers - Sgt Mark Renninger and officers Ronald Owens, Tina Griswold and Greg Richards - were shot dead at the cafe in Parkland, 40 miles (65km) south of Seattle, on Sunday morning.

On Monday, detectives revealed that the killer had himself been shot during the attack.

"We don't know if he's still alive," Pierce County sheriff's spokesman Ed Troyer told CBS television.

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"If he isn't, it's because he succumbed to the wound he received yesterday when he was in the struggle with the police officer that managed to get a shot fired at him before he was killed."

Acting on a tip-off, officers sealed off part of the Leschi area of Seattle on Sunday night, while armed Swat team members ringed the house where Maurice Clemmons was believed to be holed up.

As the siege continued through the night, witnesses heard loud bangs, breaking glass, explosions and shots.

But it was later revealed that Mr Clemmons was not in the house.

The Seattle Times reported that police were also searching the University of Washington campus following a reported sighting of Mr Clemmons.

US media said Mr Clemmons has a long criminal history including a recent arrest for allegedly assaulting a police officer in Washington state.

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