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UPDATED: Sheriff's Station shooter was LAPD detective

Woman was 'agitated,' fatally shot herself

Posted: July 6, 2009 10:37 p.m.
Updated: July 7, 2009 11:39 a.m.

A Los Angeles Police Department gang detective who was a witness in the 1991 Rodney King beating fatally shot herself in the head in the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station lobby Monday night, officials confirmed Tuesday.

LAPD Detective Susan Clemmer, 41, of Valencia, had worked in the department's Gangs and Narcotics Division and has been on the force for 19 years.

About 9:15 p.m. on Monday, Clemmer walked into the station on Magic Mountain Parkway armed with a handgun. She placed a box of personal items on the counter, spoke with two deputies, then stepped back and shot herself in the head, sheriff's officials said.

Sheriff's homicide Lt. Duane Harris said deputies described her as "agitated" enough to worry them when she came in, but he couldn't say about what.

Clemmer walked in and told a pregnant deputy she didn't want to talk to her, said sheriff's spokesman Steve Whitmore. A male deputy came out spoke with her briefly. When the man walked into the back for a moment, they heard a gunshot. Clemmer was dead on the floor.

The pregnant deputy was rushed off in an ambulance, shaken by the incident.

Sgt. Darren Harris of the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station said the woman is fine.

Clemmer, an LAPD officer since 1989, had been a key trial witness in defense of the officers charged in the Rodney King beating on March 3, 1991. Then a rookie officer, she testified in the officers' civil rights trial to King's erratic behavior during and after the beating.

She rode in the ambulance with King after his beating and testified he was laughing and spitting blood on her uniform.

After her suicide late Monday, the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station shut down for the night.

But it was back to business as usual on Tuesday morning. Nothing seemed out of place in the crowded lobby except for the noticeable odor of cleaning detergent.

Clemmer's marks the second suicide in as many months at the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station. In June, a 60-year-old Canyon Country woman in one of the station's holding cells on misdemeanor charges of battery on a peace officer hung herself from a vent in the cell using bedding.

See throughout the day for further updates.


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