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Originally published December 3, 2009 at 6:02 PM | Page modified December 4, 2009 at 1:25 AM

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Clemmons traveled to meet New York minister, citing God's instructions

At his first encounter with accused cop killer Maurice Clemmons, a New York City cleric says he immediately discerned a mental problem. Clemmons, 37, had shown up for a prayer service at Bishop E. Bernard Jordan's Zoe Ministries church on Manhattan's Riverside Drive on June 12.

Seattle Times staff reporter

Video | Maurice Clemmons visited NY minister, 1 of 3

Video | Maurice Clemmons visited NY minister, 2 of 3

Video | Maurice Clemmons visited NY minister, 3 of 3

At his first encounter with accused cop killer Maurice Clemmons, a New York City cleric says he immediately discerned a mental problem.

Clemmons, 37, had shown up for a prayer service at Bishop E. Bernard Jordan's Zoe Ministries church on Manhattan's Riverside Drive on June 12. There were about 300 people in the congregation on that balmy evening.

"He stood up in the service and loudly asked for water," Jordan recalled. "Then he stood up again and apologized."

Jordan, a Brooklyn-born self-styled prophet, author and prosperity preacher, said that Clemmons then rushed the stage. He was escorted outside.

But before leaving that night, Clemmons returned, wrote his name on a small church envelope, and tucked a monetary offering inside.

Clemmons might have learned that night that Jordan's followers planned to celebrate the ministry founder's 50th birthday with a free banquet the next evening at the Grand Hyatt Hotel on 42nd Street in Manhattan.

Clemmons and a companion, a man he told Jordan had traveled by car with him from his Tacoma home, showed up at the hotel on Saturday, along with about 800 of the ministry faithful.

The June 13 encounter was captured on video because Zoe Ministries was documenting its leader's behind-the-scenes activities leading up to the gala.

The video first shows Clemmons' companion, a man dressed in a dark suit who identified himself only as Mr. Carlisle. Carlisle motioned toward Clemmons and told Jordan that Clemmons was Jesus Christ. Jordan was wearing a microphone that picked up the conversation.

"We don't tolerate stupidity," Jordan told the companion. "If there are some mental problems, then you need to find an institution."

At a reservation table in the hotel, Jordan then chided Clemmons for not making a banquet reservation in advance. "His name was not on the list," the minister said, "but it was open to anyone who wanted to come, so we made room for him," in an overflow room.

Jordan said Clemmons told him he had followed God's instructions, making the three-day road trip to New York. "God called me," Clemmons told the minister.

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"There were many red flags up at that point," Jordan said.

Following that weekend, Jordan said he spoke to Clemmons at least once more, phoning him at his Tacoma home.

The day after the four Lakewood officers were gunned down, Jordan said he was stunned to see Clemmons identified as the shooter in a newscast.

"I was shocked," he said. "My mind started racing and wondering what in God's name had ticked him off."

Charles E. Brown: 206-464-2206 or cbrown@seattletimes.com

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