The city of Seattle is hosting thousands of people from around the state to honor Seattle Police Officer Timothy Brenton who was shot in cold blood on the evening of Halloween. On routine patrol, he was the passenger in a parked unit, with rookie officer Britt Sweeney in the driver’s seat, when a gunman pulled up and opened fire into their vehicle.
BARRY FITZSIMMONS / THE SEATTLE TIMES
Officer Brenton died at the scene while Officer Sweeney, who was in training at the time, was able to not only return fire at the shooter, but also call in for backup. Officer Sweeney, being in the driver’s seat, miraculously was able to duck in time when the shots began. While not having returned to active duty yet, she sustained only minor injuries where the bullet grazed her back. She is being hailed as a hero for her swift response and bravery.
This morning a five-mile procession began at the University of Washington, with more than 1,000 police cars, and is traveling to Key Arena where a public memorial is being held. The streets of Seattle are lined with officers and honor guard from around the state, other states, as well as from Canada. Live news coverage is overrunning local programming in an effort to honor the sacrifice this humble man gave in the name of public service and safety.
Officer Brenton was a field-training officer, routinely training rookie officers like Sweeney, who had only been on active duty for a month at the time of the incident. He was known as a "no nonsense" type of guy with a great sense of humor. He loved the outdoors but truly loved his job best of all. He had been with the Seattle Police Depatment since 2000, before which he was with both the LaConner and Hoquiam Police Departments. He was 39 at the time of his death. His wife Lisa, and his two young children, a daughter 11, and a son 8, survive him.
SEATTLE POLICE DEPARTMENT HOMEPAGE/BRENTON LEFT
Since the turn of the century, America has been united in our grief of losing service men and women on our own soil. September 11, 2001, we saw unprecedented loss of life by those who have committed their lives to uphold safety for the rest of us. Yesterday, we saw the actions of one gunman at Ft. Hood, Texas, annhilate an entire crowd of people who were preparing to serve on our behalf. This, again, is one of those days, where we lose someone in a senseless act of violence and we are uniting in our concern for the family, the community, and the policeman who was targeted.
Seattle is a place that grieves together. The radio stations have been doing fundraisers for the family and florists have been working overtime to ensure all of the orders for arrangements which have come in from across the nation were made in time for today’s memorial. One look at the procession today shows how much we are united in honoring a man who not only served this community, but also served in the first Gulf War.
Ongoing investigations are looking for the driver of a late model 1980-83 Datsun 210. Under separate investigation is whether this case is linked to a separate arson on October 22, where several vehicles were burned in a maintenance yard and a note was left threatening acts of violence towards police.
Please take a moment to hold this man and his family in your heart. He gave the ultimate sacrifice in an effort to protect and serve; another hero has fallen.
ELLEN M. BANNER/SEATTLE TIMES