Police officer from Marysville shot to death Oct. 31
November 5, 2009 · Updated 4:42 PM
SEATTLE — Seattle Police Officer Timothy Brenton, a Marysville resident, was shot to death shortly after 10 p.m. Oct. 31 while he and Officer Britt Sweeney were parked in their patrol car in the 100 Block of 29th Avenue.
The officers had just completed a traffic stop when a white or light-blue Toyota sedan, also heading southbound, pulled up next to their patrol car, and a suspect fired multiple shots into the patrol car, with what investigators have since tentatively concluded was a rifle. Bullets struck Brenton in the head, killing him, and grazed the back of Sweeney's neck, inflicting minor injuries on her. Sweeney returned fire, possibly striking the vehicle, and summoned additional officers to the scene as the vehicle fled northbound on 29th Avenue.
Officers from all precincts responded, as well as Homicide and CSI. The investigation is active and ongoing, and Interim Police Chief John Diaz deemed it a priority for the Seattle Police Department. Diaz pledged the department would devote all its resources to investigating the shooting until those responsible are apprehended.
"This was a hit on law enforcement, a hit on government, not this particular officer," said Diaz, who described the shooting as random. Police have not identified any suspects or motives in the shooting, and reported that Brenton had not been the target of any threats.
"This was a profound tragedy, a shock to our senses," Diaz said. "It's a family."
Assistant Police Chief Jim Pugel called the shooting an "assassination," while Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels called it "a cold-blooded killing."
Brenton was 39-years-old and a nine-year veteran of the Seattle Police Department at the time of his death. He leaves behind a wife and two children. Sweeney, 33, is a recent graduate of the Washington State Criminal Justice Training Center, and was praised by Pugel for demonstrating the quick thinking and behavior of a veteran officer. Pugel expressed concern for Sweeney's safety, saying, "It is clear the suspect was trying to get both of them."
The Seattle Police Department Web site issued a statement from Brenton's family Nov. 3 thanking the community for its outpouring of support.
"Even with the tragic loss, Tim's wife and children are finding solace in the support from the police community, their friends and family, and the community as a whole," the statement read. "We know that Tim would be honored and humbled by the limitless support that has been provided at the difficult time. We sincerely thank you for the generous emotional support, thoughts and prayers."
Brenton's uncle, 50-year-old Jon Brenton of Kingston, spoke with The Seattle Times about his nephew's smiles and sense of humor.
"Everybody loved him," Jon Brenton told The Seattle Times. "I don't think there was any reason anybody would come after him."
The memorial service for Brenton is scheduled for Nov. 6 at 1 p.m. at the Key Arena. Donations to Brenton's family may be made at any Bank of America branch under the Brenton Family Assistance Fund. Marysville School District flags will be flown at half-staff Nov. 6 in honor of Brenton's family, which has two children in the school district.
Anyone with information regarding the shooting is urged to call either 9-1-1, the Seattle Police Homicide Unit at 206-684-5550, or the tip-line for this investigation at 206-233-5000. Anonymous tipsters may call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477, or send a text message to 274637 which includes "TIP486." The men and women of the Seattle Police Officers Guild, along with contributions from concerned citizens and Crime Stoppers, are now offering a reward of up to $105,000 for information that leads to the arrest and prosecution of those responsible for the shooting. Calls are taken 24 hours a day.