Officer Down

Around 10:00 pm on October 31, 2009, Seattle police training officer Timothy Brenton 39, was sitting in a squad car with student officer Brit Sweeney 33, reviewing a traffic stop. Sweeney had just been sworn on to the force on August 19th. They were at 29th and Yesler in the Leschi neighborhood. Suddenly, a light-colored compact car pulled up next to them and opened fire.
Officer Timothy Brenton
Neighbors said 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 return fire, had ducked when fired upon and a bullet grazed the top of her head. She was taken to the hospital. Oddly, an American flag was found near the scene.
29th and Yesler Way in the Leschi Neighborhood
Police called 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, the shooter decided he wanted to kill a cop that Saturday night, and Brenton was the unlucky officer. He was married with two kids, ages 8 and 11. His father and uncle are retired Seattle officers.
Brenton and His Father The Day He Was Sworn In
A massive manhunt went underway and tips poured in as detectives looked for a compact or sub-compact car that was either white, silver, or light blue. On November 6th, detectives received a call that a man living in Tukwila, (a suburb near Sea-Tac Airport) owned a 1980 to 1982 Datsun B210 coupe seen in the area where Brenton was murdered. When they arrived at the Terrace Apartments at 13705 56th Avenue South, they also discovered a sedan that looked like a police cruiser. The Datsun was covered by a tarp.
The Suspect's Ride
Detectives waited until Christopher Monfort, a criminal justice student at Highline Community College in Burien, (another suburb near the airport) 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. 
The Scene at The Terrace Apartments Halloween 2009
But the weapon didn't go off. Detectives resumed the foot chase until he once again pointed his gun at them. This time police opened fire, shooting him twice, once in the head. Neither shot was fatal but he is now paralyzed. This all happened at the same time as Officer Brenton's funeral up in Seattle.
The Procession
After police shot and arrested Monfort, a search 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, 2009 firebombing of four Seattle Police cars in the city's maintenance yard. An American flag had been found at that scene too. DNA would later prove their suspicions correct.

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 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?

King County prosecutors charged Monfort with aggravated first-degree murder and attempted first-degree murder in connection with the shooting. He is also charged with arson and attempted first-degree murder in connection with the firebombing, and another attempted first-degree murder charge for attempting to shoot a detective who was pursuing him. His trial date is tentatively set for Sept. 13, 2013. He is expected to plead not guilty by reason of insanity.
A Paralyzed Monfort in Court
On October 31, 2010 a memorial was dedicated to Officer Brenton at the site of the shooting. 
Brenton's Wife and Children at Dedication
Britt Sweeney was named Officer of The Month in November 2009 and took an extended leave from the force, but returned once her wounds healed. She has proven to be an excellent officer in a city full of corrupt ones. In September of 2011, Sweeney was named Washington State Officer of The Year.

RIP Officer Brenton.