The Pierce County prosecutor’s office in Washington may bring charges against the pilot of the KING-TV Seattle helicopter and the station’s news director for allegedly interfering with the investigation at a crime scene where four police officers were killed. The station has denied any wrongdoing.
According to the Tacoma News Tribune, a spokesman for the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department complained that the KING helicopter hovered over the crime scene Sunday morning, making it difficult for investigators to communicate with each other. The Sheriff’s Department claims that the station refused to move off when asked.
KING tells quite a different story. Competitor KIRO-TV quoted KING News Director Mark Ginther as saying that the station complied with FAA regulations at all times and moved the chopper every time it was requested to do so by local police authorities.
The Sheriff’s Department has forwarded its reports to the prosecutor’s office and claims that the prosecutor will attempt to file charges against Ginther and the helicopter pilot.
Police continue to search for Maurice Clemmons, age 37, who has been named as a suspect in the shootings. He was paroled in 2000 after then-Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee commuted Clemmons’ 95-year prison sentence for an aggravated robbery he committed at age 17. Clemmons returned to the Arkansas prison for a while for a parole violation, but was set free again and relocated to Washington, where he also ran up a criminal record. Huckabee went on to run unsuccessfully for President and is now a radio and TV talk host.
UPDATE: Seattle Police reported that Clemmons was shot and killed Tuesday morning by a police officer.