Courts & Crime

Person of interest in Tacoma officers' slayings has long criminal record

The key person of interest in the Sunday slayings of four Lakewood police officers is a career criminal with a history of violence against law enforcement officers who compares himself to Jesus and the Messiah, and who once received clemency from then-Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee.

Maurice Clemmons, 37, drifted in and out of the Pierce County Jail four times this year, most recently Tuesday, when he bailed out pending a trial on charges of third-degree assault, malicious mischief and second-degree child rape.

The victim in the rape case was a female relative.

Clemmons has a long history of violent offenses, including crimes against police officers in Arkansas and Pierce County, according to public records and news accounts.

Clemmons has not been arrested or charged in the Lakewood police officers’ deaths. Sheriff’s deputies say he was seen in the area of the shootings Sunday morning. His last known address is about two miles from the scene – a five-minute drive.

Those factors, coupled with his record of scuffles with police, led investigators to hunt for him. Court records show Clemmons began acting strangely in May, when the incidents related to local charges against him took place. Family members told police about his strange behavior.

“He reportedly thinks he can fly away and at one point was found in the backyard jumping,” a sheriff’s report states. “He says that he is the Messiah and he is going to save the world. He talks about President Obama coming to confirm that he is the Messiah in the flesh.”

The assault charge stemmed from a May 9 incident in the 13100 block of 12th Avenue South.

The report said Clemmons and two associates were breaking car windows along a street. Court records say a Pierce County deputy arrived and tried to arrest the two accomplices, who fought.

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