Help is coming, and it's only right
Volunteers and the Seattle Police Department are coming forward to help the family of Chrisceda Clemmons, whose home was trashed during the manhunt for cop killer Maurice Clemmons. Police descended on Chrisceda Clemmons home after she and her husband reported that her nephew Maurice was on his way there Sunday night.
Seattle Times staff columnist
How to helpDonations to help the Chrisceda Clemmons-Michael Shantz family, whose Leschi home was damaged during the manhunt for Maurice Clemmons, can be sent to the Leschi Community Council, P.O. Box 22391, Seattle, WA. 98122-0391. Reference the Clemmons Family Fund.
The first e-mail landed in my box at 2:05 a.m. Thursday.
"I would sure like to see an outpouring of community support for Miss Chrisceda... "
The next, at 3:56 a.m.: "It makes me sick to my stomach that the Seattle Police are making this lady clear a judicial review before her home is restored to order!"
If Chrisceda Clemmons and her family have been losing sleep over what to do about their Leschi home, trashed during the frantic manhunt for cop killer Maurice Clemmons, well, they're not alone.
After my story about their situation, plenty of people spent the wee hours Thursday wondering why Chrisceda Clemmons, her husband Michael Shantz and their children couldn't go home.
Why their place was left coated with tear-gas residue, their furniture tossed and every window broken.
After all, Clemmons and Shantz were the only people in a vast network of family and friends to alert police of Maurice Clemmons' whereabouts.
He had called Chrisceda Clemmons, his aunt, Sunday evening to say he had killed four Lakewood police officers that morning and was heading to her house to hide.
Chrisceda Clemmons, 45, sent her younger children away. Then she and Shantz, 58, went to the Seattle Police Department's East Precinct.
An army of police were dispatched to their Leschi neighborhood, where they spent the night bombarding the house with tear gas and lights in the hopes of driving Clemmons out.
Somehow, Clemmons escaped. Early Tuesday morning, he was shot and killed by a Seattle police officer.
And Chrisceda Clemmons was left to literally pick up the pieces of law enforcement's search for her troubled nephew.
But it turns out, she won't do it alone.
Before 9 a.m., I had heard from citizens wanting to donate, to help clean up. I heard from lawyers wanting to help her sort through whatever legal tangles there might be.
And I spoke to John Hayes, the Seattle Police Department's director of community relations. He was spending the day with the family, even escorting Shantz downtown to file a claim with the city.
The claim will be handled by the city of Seattle's Department of Executive Administration (DEA) — and quickly.
"They are expediting it," said Betsy Graef, legislative assistant to City Councilman Tim Burgess. "We're making sure that this doesn't get slowed down."
Burgess' office will touch base with the DEA "daily," Graef said.
"We're very interested," she added. "All of us in the city understand that (Chrisceda Clemmons) did the right thing and should not be punished for that."
Meanwhile, the Leschi Community Council has established a fund to help the family rebuild.
Donations to the Clemmons and Shantz family can be sent to the Leschi Community Council, P.O. Box 22391, Seattle, WA 98122-0391.
And Hayes plans to stay in touch.
"This is high on our priority list," he said. "The nature of it, the seriousness of the damage, the case itself, all of it. Everything has been traumatic, and you have to make sure that people are doing all right.
"You don't leave people out there."
Especially when they came to you to help.
Nicole Brodeur's column appears Tuesday and Friday. Reach her at 206-464-2334 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
And who will get the reward?
About Nicole Brodeur
My column is more a conversation with readers than a spouting of my own views. I like to think that, in writing, I lay down a bridge between readers and me. It is as much their space as mine. And it is a place to tell the stories that, otherwise, may not get into the paper.
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