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Friday, March 19, 1993 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Neighbors Rally Around Widower Who Police Say Killed Intruder

TUKWILA - The whole neighborhood knows him as "Papa." He's the stocky, retired handyman who would help anybody. His wife, "Granny," was the tiny soul willing to spoil any child around.

When Beulah "Granny" Bales died in October at 86, the close-knit neighborhood pitched in to support Floyd "Papa" Bales, 87. They even bought him a plane ticket so he could fly back to Iowa to see the family and friends he'd left more than 30 years ago when he moved West.

Now the neighbors are rallying around Bales after a tragedy of a different sort. On Wednesday night, police say, Bales shot and killed his granddaughter's husband.

Clyde "Jerry" Clampit Jr., 46, died in the doorway of Bales' home of multiple chest wounds after breaking a window and forcing his way into the house, said Tukwila Detective Sgt. Doug Partlow. He was unarmed.

Bales' granddaughter, Debbra Siskar-Clampit, who witnessed the shooting, alleges her husband intended to harm her because she sent him to jail for assaulting her on March 8. While he was in jail, she secured a no-contact order against him and served him with divorce papers. Clampit was released from jail the afternoon of his death, Kent jail officials say.

Minutes before the shooting, police say, Siskar-Clampit had called 911 from her grandfather's home to say she'd seen her husband outside. She has no telephone where she lives in a trailer next door.

Police searched the area, without luck. As soon as they left, Siskar-Clampit said she began calling her neighbors to ask them to keep a lookout for her husband. She said she was talking to a woman who lives behind her grandfather's home when the woman told her she saw Clampit walking up the back steps.

Police say Siskar-Clampit hung up and called 911 again. By the time the call connected, though, Clampit had been shot dead with a handgun.

"She did just about everything she could have done to legally protect herself," said Partlow. "Short of camping out on his doorstep, we did all we could do, too."

Partlow said the shooting was still under investigation, adding that Bales was not taken into custody "because of the circumstances of the shooting" and because he is in ill health. Neighbors say Bales, who has lung cancer, is dependent on an oxygen tank.

When police finish their investigation, they will refer the case to the King County prosecutor's office for review.

The morning after the shooting, neighbors were quick to support "Papa" Bales.

"He's the best-loved person around," said Lori Cooke, who lives next door with her husband and child. "We always joked that we were Granny and Papa's entertainment. They could see everything we did through their kitchen window . . . and it was really nice to know they were looking out for us. All of us."

Copyright (c) 1993 Seattle Times Company, All Rights Reserved.

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