Oakland cops share connection to tragedy in WA

November 30, 2009 6:32:26 PM PST
A massive manhunt is underway in Washington State for the man who shot and killed four officers in a Tacoma coffee shop Sunday. Police are going door-to-door and combing neighborhoods for 37-year-old Maurice Clemmons.

A SWAT team raided one home in Seattle but did not find him. Clemmons was convicted of a violent crime spree when he was a teenager and received a 95-year sentence. But in 2000, then-governor Mike Huckabee commuted his sentence and he was released from prison.

The Oakland police force still mourns the deadliest day in the department's history, when four of their own were killed in the line of duty by a wanted parolee. Now, Oakland shares a connection with the Lakewood Police Department in grief and through an almost unbelievable coincidence.

The owner of the Forza Coffee Shop near Tacoma, where a gunman burst in and opened fire on four officers at the start of their shift Sunday, is also a former Oakland police officer.

"It's just unimaginable and our hearts are just breaking," Brad Carpenter told ABC7.

Carpenter spent six years in Oakland as a patrol and narcotics officer before transferring to a department in Washington State. He later retired and bought the coffee shop chain. By phone Monday, he told ABC7 he is devastated by what happened.

"The tragic part about it is we thought we had a safe haven," he said. "This was a coffee shop where the officers visited. It was a safe place for them."

Oakland's force is offering assistance in every way possible whether it is helping with the massive undertaking of organizing the funerals, to just being there in attendance, just as thousands came from around the country and world to pay their last respects when Oakland faced its own tragedy.

Those departments are memorialized at a corner bar near the police station, a hangout for many off-duty officers.

"Well, that's what everyone said, 'Not again,'" recalled Mike Dennis who owns the Warehouse Bar and Grill. "It hasn't been a year and already there's another horrific act up in Washington."

It was a horrific act that hits all too close to home.

"I still have several friends still, in the Oakland Police Department and that scene was just as horrific as this one," said Dennis.


Load Comments