SEATTLE—It's been a little more than five months since Officer Ben Kelly shot and killed Maurice Clemmons when the wanted fugitive wouldn't show him his hands.
In an exclusive interview with Washington's Most Wanted Host David Rose, Officer Kelly says his training prepared him to defend himself that night, "During the whole incident I went into auto pilot, I didn't have to think. There was very little conscious thought involved. It was after the fact when it all kind of started to sink in that training really didn't prepare you for."
Nothing could really prepare him for dealing with the pain he shares with so many officers and their families, or for being recognized in the community as a hero. Officer Kelly says he's had an opportunity to talk with each of the families of the Lakewood Officers murdered on November 29th.
"It was a very emotional time and I honestly just wish there was more that i could do more for the families." Officer Kelly says the shooting has only sharpened his dedication to the job.
He told Rose, "Obviously, I'm a little bit more alert, a little bit more aware. I realize how quickly things can happen, how quickly they can change..in the larger picture i don't think it's changed my approach fo the job or the way I interact with people."
He'll be interacting with thousands of his fellow officers at National Police Week in Washington D.C. next week where each officer killed in our state last year will be remembered. That includes Seattle Officer Tim Brenton killed last Halloween. About his fellow officer's murder, he says, "it was a really difficult moment on Halloween night last year, I was working and when the call came out last year, it was the most helpless I've felt working the job."
What he could do, what he did do was respond by stopping the most notorious cop killer in Washington State history. Now that he's been cleared in that shooting, all he wants is to quietly go back to protecting the public. Officer Kelly says, "I'm nothing special, I'm just a cop out there doing his job and like everybody else and if you want to thank me, go out and thank and officer that you happen to pass by because they're doing the same thing I am to the best of their ability.
Rose will present Officer Kelly with the Washington's Most Wanted April Officer of the Month award on Friday, May 7th at 9:30pm on MyQ2 and 10:30pm on Q13 Fox.