OFFICER TIMOTHY BRENTON, EOW: 10-31-2009
By: Officer Mike Severance #2866
On Saturday night, October 31, 2009, just after 10:00 pm, Field Training Officer Timothy Brenton was discussing a just completed traffic stop with his Student Officer, Britt Sweeney. Their patrol car was parked on 29th Avenue and just north of East Yesler Way. A vehicle approaching from the rear pulled alongside the patrol car. The occupant of this vehicle opened fire on the officers with a semi-automatic rifle, killing Officer Brenton instantly. Officer Sweeney suffered a grazing injury with at least one bullet ripping her shirt and ballistic vest. She was able to broadcast the situation on her radio, get out of the patrol car, and return fire.
In the days that followed, there was grief, anger, and fear amidst an ongoing manhunt for the suspect. There was one small moment of peace at Officer Brenton’s public memorial service on November 6, 2009 at the Seattle Center. Thousands of Seattle citizens, paying their respects, lined the procession route from the University of Washington to the Seattle Center. It was a time to pay tribute to and remember the man who was killed for no other reason than his uniform. Officer Brenton’s remains were cremated.
As the memorial was ending, news broke that the suspect in the shooting, Christopher Monfort, had been found and shot by SPD detectives. In 2015, Monfort was tried for Officer Brenton’s murder. The prosecutor sought the death penalty. A jury gave him life in prison without parole. He died in prison on January 18, 2017 from an overdose. The coroner could not determine if the overdose was accidental or a suicide. The last time a person was tried, convicted, and executed for the murder of a Seattle Police Officer was in 1938.
Timothy Brenton was born on February 9, 1970. Officer Brenton came from a family dedicated to public service. His father and uncle are both retired Seattle Police Officers, and his brother-in-law is a Seattle Firefighter. Officer Brenton served in the US Army, and was a veteran of the first Gulf War. He served in the Hoquiam and La Connor Police Departments. On December 18, 2000, he was commissioned as a Seattle Police Officer, and fulfilled his lifelong dream of following in his father’s footsteps.
Office Brenton is remembered for his quick wit and intelligence. He loved being a police officer and loved sharing his knowledge with others through Field Training. He is survived by his wife, Lisa, daughter, Kayleigh, and son, Quinn.
In May 2010, Officer Timothy Brenton was posthumously awarded the Washington Law Enforcement Medal of Honor. The medal was presented to his widow and children.