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Assassination: Seattle Cop Timothy Brenton Murdered in Drive-By

Monday, November 9, 2009 at 2:16 pm
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Officer Brenton was killed instantly. Another officer was grazed but returned fire.
UPDATE: Suspected cop killer Christopher J. Monfort may have also fire-bombed four Seattle police cars. See update after the jump...

Seattle police training officer Timothy Brenton was sitting in a squad with student officer Brit Sweeney Halloween night, reviewing a traffic stop. Suddenly, a light-colored compact car pulled up next to them and opened fire.

Neighbors say they heard eight to 10 shots, possibly from an automatic or semi-automatic weapon. Then they heard about six shots fire back. When it was all over, Brenton was dead, killed instantly. Sweeney, who was able to get off return fire, was injured and taken to the hospital...

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When police tried to interview Christopher Monfort, he pulled a gun
Police are calling it an assassination, though it's doubtful Brenton was a specific target. The 10-year veteran taught young officers the trade, and wasn't known to have any enemies or recent threats. Most likely, some jerkoff decided he wanted to kill a cop Saturday night, and Brenton was the unlucky officer who happened to be chosen.

A massive manhunt is now underway as detectives look for a compact or sub-compact car that's either white, silver, or light blue. Though Sweeney returned fire, police aren't sure if she hit the car or not. A shot grazed her bullet-proof vest. Brenton was hit several times and died at the scene.

He was married with two kids, ages 8 and 11. His father and uncle are retired Seattle officers.

UPDATE: Police received a tip that criminal justice student Christopher J. Monfort owned a car like the one seen near officer Timothy Brenton's murder. When they went to interview him, he pulled a gun, and police shot him.

That's the latest in the double shooting of two Seattle cops. And while police aren't sure they have their man, the evidence seems pretty damning.

Detectives received a tip that a man living in Tukwila, Washington owned a 1980 to 1982 Datsun 210 coupe seen in the area where Brenton was murdered. When they arrived at the apartment building, they also discovered a sedan that looked like a police cruiser. The Datsun was covered by a tarp.

Detectives waited until Christopher Monfort, a criminal justice student at Highline Community College, approached the car. But when they asked to speak with him, he first ran up a staircase, then pointed a gun at the cops and pulled the trigger. 

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Timothy Brenton died instantly while sitting in his cruiser
But the weapon didn't go off. Detectives resumed the chase until he once again pointed his gun at them. This time police opened fire, shooting him twice, once in the head.

Two other men have been arrested, but police haven't released their names or said how they may be involved in the officer's slaying. The person who tipped cops to Monfort said he'd been acting weird lately.

Monfort, 41, was described as an excellent student who planned to go to law school. He's now hospitalized in critical condition.

UPDATE II: Police believe their suspect in the murder of officer Timothy Brenton may have also fire-bombed four Seattle police cars.

After police shot and arrested 41-year-old Christopher Monfort, a search warrant of his apartment revealed a well-stocked arsenal. Detectives found a rifle, handguns, an assault rifle, and homemade explosives. That led them to believe he may have also been involved in the September 22 firebombing of four squad cars in the city's maintenance yard.

What remains unexplained is why Monfort had a beef with police. He seemed certainly interested in entering the field. He'd already received a degree in criminal justice from the University of Washington, and was working on another criminal justice degree at Highline Community college while mentoring at-risk teens.

But he'd recently been laid off from his job as a security guard. At age 41, it's fair to assume he was professionally frustrated. Did he feel he was rejected or passed over by real cops, and was now pissed that he couldn't even keep a rent-a-cop job?

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