CHS included one somber stop at 29th and Yesler on what was otherwise a fun and peaceful Halloween Friday night. Five years ago, Officer Timothy Brenton was gunned down in what investigators would call an assassination of the veteran officer as he sat in his patrol car with a trainee partner. CHS heard the East Precinct radio broadcasts that Halloween night 2009 as partner Britt Sweeney called for help. She had been grazed by a bullet and was in obvious, painful distress. Brenton died at the scene.
Friday night at Brenton’s 29th and Yesler memorial, CHS found flowers and a cup of coffee left for the fallen officer.
In 2009, a procession of police cars filled Broadway the day following the murder as Brenton’s body was taken to Bonney Watson Funeral Home. A massive search for the killer included images of the suspect vehicle and a suspect description full of fears of domestic terrorism. Six days later, just as a memorial service for Brenton at Key Area concluded, police moved in on a suspect traced to Tukwila.
This month, the trial of accused cop killer Christopher Monfort finally reached the jury selection phase with the start of proceedings slated for January. Prosecutors say they will seek the death penalty against the 46-year-old. Monfort, shot by police during his arrest and paralyzed from the waist down, has pleaded not guilty. His lawyers have said they will mount an insanity defense.
Central District News: Seattle Police Officer Murdered at 29th & Yesler — 11/1/2009 3:57 AM
Last night a veteran Seattle police officer was gunned down in cold blood as he sat in a patrol car at 29th & Yesler. He was a training officer, working with a recent police academy graduate, and was sitting in the passenger seat of a stationary police vehicle when a “lighter colored small car” pulled up next to them and opened fire, killing the training officer. A female trainee was sitting in the driver seat and ducked, suffering only a grazing wound.
The trainee, on the force for about seven months, made a radio call regarding “shots fired” and asking for medics to respond to the scene. She also exited the vehicle and returned fire, striking the suspect vehicle several times as it drove away. She was taken to Harborview Medical Center for treatment of non-life-threatening wounds.
Police officers from around the city and larger metro area streamed into the Central District after the shooting, canvassing the neighborhood for the suspect vehicle. But as of press time, no suspects have been identified or apprehended.
Assistant Chief Jim Pugel said that the investigation is very preliminary, but that officers were fanning out across the city in search of the suspects. “The officers are very upset. This is highly unusual. This is an attack not just on police officers but society as a whole.” SPD spokesman Sean Whitcomb later said that this type of attack is unprecedented in Seattle.
No details are available on the murdered officer, pending notification of his family. Chief Diaz informed the victim’s family of his death, and was still with the family early this morning. We can say that his radio call sign identified him as part of George sector, which spans most of the Central District south of Union to I-90.
Whitcomb said that Field Training Officers occupy a special position in the force, and that you must be specifically chosen for the program. They shadow student officers who have recently graduated from the police academy, giving them on-the-job training as they become full police officers.
This is the first time an officer has been killed in the line of duty in Seattle since 1994. A long line of squad cars formed up on MLK early this morning to lead a procession that escorted the deceased officer’s body to Harborview.