Murder of Timothy Brenton

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Murder of Timothy Brenton
Location Seattle, Washington,
United States
Date Saturday, October 31, 2009
10:00 p.m. (UTC-8)
Attack type
Ambush shooting
Deaths 1
Non-fatal injuries
2 (including the suspected perpetrator)
Suspected perpetrator
Christopher Monfort

The murder of Timothy Brenton occurred on October 31, 2009, in the Central District of Seattle, Washington, United States. Brenton, an officer with the Seattle Police Department, was seated in a parked patrol car with another officer discussing a traffic stop when a gunman stopped his vehicle alongside the patrol car, opened fire on the two officers, and fled the scene. Brenton died at the scene and his partner sustained minor injuries.[1] One week later, as a public memorial service for Brenton was being held at KeyArena, the suspected gunman was apprehended and seriously wounded after being shot by police officers in Tukwila.

The shooting is believed to have been a targeted attack against police officers in general, not against either officer individually. The suspect arrested in connection with the murder has also been charged in connection with the October 22, 2009, firebombing of Seattle police vehicles at a city maintenance facility.[2] No clear motive was established but he had left fliers discussing police brutality, and had expressed opinions against wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. He was accused of being a terrorist who waged a "one man war" against the police by authorities.[3]

Victims[edit]

One Seattle Police Department officer was killed and another injured. They were:

  • Field Training Officer Timothy Brenton, 39, of Marysville, nine years with SPD, killed in the attack;
  • Trainee Officer Britt Sweeney, 33, of Seattle, one month with SPD, injured in the attack.

Incident[edit]

On the night of October 31, 2009, at approximately 10:00 pm Pacific Daylight Time (UTC-7), Brenton and his partner, trainee officer Britt Sweeney, were both sitting in their patrol car following a traffic stop at 29th Avenue South and East Yesler Way in the Central District. Sweeney was sitting in the driver's seat with Brenton in the passenger seat. As they were debriefing the traffic stop they had just performed, a vehicle pulled up alongside their police car and someone inside opened fire with a rifle.[4] Sweeney ducked, and a bullet grazed the top of her head and her back. Brenton, meanwhile, was mortally wounded in the attack. The suspect's vehicle reversed, turned around, and fled the scene in the direction from which it had come. As the vehicle was fleeing the scene, Sweeney managed to call for help, exit the patrol car, and return fire.[1][5] Seattle's police chief called the attack an assassination,[5] as well as an act of domestic terrorism.[2] Several days after the shooting, a suspicious vehicle was identified as having been seen on dashboard cameras of other police vehicles in the area of the shooting.

A public memorial service was held for Brenton on November 6. The memorial began with a procession of police and fire vehicles from the University of Washington campus to KeyArena, where a public ceremony was held. As the ceremony was concluding, officers with the Seattle and Tukwila police departments and King County Sheriff's Office confronted Christopher Monfort, age 41, the owner of a vehicle matching the description of the suspicious vehicle in the parking lot of a Tukwila apartment complex. Monfort brandished a gun and attempted to flee into his apartment. When he brandished the weapon again, the pursuing officers opened fire, seriously wounding him. Monfort was taken to Harborview Medical Center and his family has stated that he is paralyzed from the waist down.[4]

Suspect[edit]

At the time of the incidents, Monfort had no criminal record in Washington, and had graduated from the University of Washington and studied law enforcement.[6][7]

Police allege that upon entering Monfort's apartment, they found three rifles, a shotgun, homemade explosives, booby traps and a barricade of tires. Investigators also claim to have matched ballistics between a rifle found in Monfort's apartment and the bullets used in the attack on Brenton and Sweeney. They also found evidence connecting Monfort with the firebombing of multiple police vehicles at a Seattle city maintenance facility on October 22, 2009, in which prosecutors claim he was planning to kill police officers. Police also claim to have a DNA match for Monfort found on the flags left at the firebombing scene and the murder scene.[4]

King County prosecutors charged Monfort with aggravated first-degree murder and attempted first-degree murder in connection with the shooting of Brenton and Sweeney. He is also charged with arson and attempted first-degree murder in connection with the firebombing at the city maintenance facility, and another attempted first-degree murder charge for attempting to shoot a detective who was pursuing him.[4][4][6]

See also[edit]

References[edit]