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Brenton, Officer Timothy Q.

End of Watch: 
Saturday, October 31, 2009
County: 
King County
Agency: 
Seattle P.D.

On Saturday, October 31, 2009 at 2130 hours, Seattle Police Officer Tim Brenton and Officer Britt Sweeney conducted a traffic stop at East Jefferson Street and Martin Luther King Jr. Way.  During the traffic stop, a woman walking her dog in the area saw a suspicious vehicle that appeared to be observing the traffic stop.  The vehicle was a light blue 1980 Datsun 210.  The witness observed the Datsun driving past the officers on the traffic stop, then pull into a small park.  The Datsun parked and shut its lights off, but soon backed onto a raised, grassy area.  A few minutes before 2200 hours, Officer Brenton and Officer Sweeney had relocated about six blocks from the location of the traffic stop to the west side of 29th Avenue, just north of East Yesler Way, to debrief the traffic stop.  As the officers left the location of the traffic stop, the witness watched the Datsun drive from the park, east on Jefferson.  Officer Sweeney was in training and Officer Brenton was her FTO.

Another witness observed seeing the Datsun drive north on 29th, past Officer Brenton and Officer Sweeney.  Their patrol car camera recorded the Datsun passing the patrol car northbound on 29th at 2159 hours.  At 2206 hours, the Datsun drove south on 29th, where it pulled alongside the patrol car.  Officer Sweeney sensed danger and ducked, telling Officer Brenton to do the same.  Christopher Monfort opened fire on the officers with an AR-15.  Officer Brenton was struck several times and was killed instantly.  Officer Sweeney ducked and a round grazed the back of her uniform shirt and ballistic vest.  Monfort backed northbound on 29th Avenue, turned around mid-block and fled the scene.  Officer Sweeney returned fire and radioed shots were fired with an officer down.  Within about one minute, numerous backup officers arrived at the scene.

Signature evidence of an American flag bandana was located in the area of where the Datsun turned around on 29th Avenue.  An American flag was also left at the scene of the bombing that occurred on October 22 at the Charles Street Garage, when police cars and other vehicles were destroyed.  DNA evidence from the American flag bandana and the flag found at Charles Street matched, but no profile matched the DNA profile database.

On November 6, an SPD Criminal Intelligence Section detective received a tip from the manager of the Terrace Apartments, located at 13725 56th Avenue South in Tukwila.  She said that the tenant living in D402, Monfort, owned a Datsun 210.  She added that she found it weird that Monfort had covered the Datsun with a tarp recently while it had been parked out in the open for several months prior.

At the conclusion of Officer Brenton’s memorial service at Key Arena, SPD Homicide detectives were arriving at Terrace Apartments.  SPD SWAT was en route.  However, upon the detectives arriving, Monfort confronted the detectives, produced a weapon and was shot. 

After obtaining the search warrant, detectives located the murder weapon.  Bullet fragments recovered from the scene and the autopsy matched the AR-15 rifle found in the apartment.  Homemade explosives and additional firearms were located inside the apartment as well.  Bloody clothing worn by Monfort when he was shot was recovered.  The DNA profile from the clothing matched the already matching profiles from the American flag bandana from 29th Avenue and the flag found at Charles Street.

The Datsun 210 was recovered at the scene without louvers.  Dashboard video clearly showed that the Datsun 210 had louvers on the night of the murder of Officer Brenton.  A photograph from Monfort’s recovered cell phone showed a picture of the Datsun with its louvers still attached.  They had been removed by Monfort between the time of the shooting and when it was recovered.

Monfort is awaiting trial.

Officer Brenton had served with the Seattle Police Department for nine years and previously with the La Conner Police Department. He was survived by his wife, son, and daughter. His father and uncle are retired Seattle police officers.