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Originally published December 1, 2009 at 10:39 AM | Page modified December 10, 2009 at 6:17 PM

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'Boom. Boom. Boom. Boom': Neighbors describe shooting of suspect

People in the neighborhood where Maurice Clemmons was killed by a Seattle police officer recall hearing the shots and then a lot of police sirens.

Seattle Times staff reporter

People in the South Seattle neighborhood where Maurice Clemmons was killed by a Seattle police officer recall hearing the shots and then a lot of police sirens.

Ron Lewis, 59, lives next door to where Clemmons was shot, in the 4400 block of South Kenyon Street .

"I couldn't sleep, so I got up to watch TV at about 2:30 a.m." said Lewis, a carpenter.

"I just kind of settled in and I heard four or five gunshots. Boom. Boom. Boom. Boom."

Lewis said he checked to make sure his family was safe, then looked outside and saw a small car with its hood up and a police car behind it. He then looked out the back porch and saw a body (Clemmons') lying on a walkway leading to a neighbor's house.

Later, he heard police cars coming from every direction. "The whole thing is just a shock," said Lewis.

Jessica Breznau, who lives near the shooting scene, said she came outside after the shots were fired and saw police.

"One of the policemen took me aside and said, 'Let me tell you what's going on.' He was kind of emotional and he said, 'This is the guy who shot the people in Lakewood. He's gone.' "

Breznau said the officer told her that Clemmons had a gun.

Sylvester Dennis, 50, who lives in the area, walked to scene before 5 a.m.

"Sounds like he got what he deserved. Those were police officers, man. You just can't just go around killing people," said Dennis, a truck driver who has lived in the area since he was 11.

Linda Coomas, 52, who lives around the corner from where the shooting occurred, said she heard a series of what sounded like loud, sharp knocks just before 3 a.m.

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"And soon after that, I heard a lot of sirens and saw a lot of lights."

Coomas, who has lived in the area 3 ½ years, said, "It's a transitional neighborhood. You've got all kinds of people here. I generally feel safe, but I am really glad I have a security system."

Neighbor Vi Matsuoka said the gunshots woke her up, and within minutes more than 20 police cars swarmed the block.

Matsuoka said that about 3:15 she heard officers on a loudspeaker repeatedly telling occupants to come out of the house directly in front of where Clemmons' car had been stopped.

A few minutes later, six or seven police entered the house, but she said she wasn't sure whether anyone was home.

"They have nothing to do with this. They've been there for a long time." Matsuoko said, "I'm glad it happened in the middle of the night and not when kids are around. I'm just glad it's done and over with."

Jack Broom: 206-464-2222 or jbroom@seattletimes.com

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