Datsun 210 sought in police shooting
Seattle police are searching for a white or light-beige 1980 to 1983 Datsun 210 coupe that might have rear-window louvers and a defective right taillight in connection with the slaying last Saturday of Officer Timothy Brenton.
Seattle Times staff reporters
Information soughtA $105,000 reward is being offered for information that leads to an arrest. Callers can contact the Seattle Police Department tip line at 206-233-5000. Anyone wishing to remain anonymous can call Crime Stoppers at 800-222-TIPS.
A fund has been established for the family of Officer Timothy Brenton. Donations may be made at any Bank of America branch under the "Brenton Family Assistance Fund."
Source: Seattle Police Department
View Memorial Procession for Timothy Brenton in a larger map
Asking for the public's help, Seattle police released a detailed description Thursday of the car they are seeking in Saturday's fatal shooting of Officer Timothy Brenton and a lengthy psychological profile that might fit the killer.
Police said they are searching for a white or light-beige 1980 to 1983 Datsun 210 coupe that might have rear-window louvers and a defective right taillight.
"We're not saying this absolutely, that it is the vehicle," Assistant Chief Jim Pugel said at a news briefing Thursday.
But the car was captured twice by dashboard cameras on police cars driving in the area of the shooting about the time of the attack, Pugel said. One video image, obtained from the slain officer's car, was filmed about 20 minutes before the attack.
The psychological profile describes an individual with weapon skills, who might carry a grudge and could have been working with a small group of other people.
"He has likely experienced a significant personal crisis in the recent past. This event may have been the death of a loved one, the loss of a job or status, financial hardship or other failure," Pugel said.
Police urged the killer to come forward, saying they would listen to any grievance and why he chose the Seattle Police Department as a target.
"Everyone has a conscience," Pugel said, noting the assailant might even admire police.
"The fact that he killed a very good human being, I don't know if he understood that when this occurred," Pugel said.
In identifying the car on the videos, two auto-design experts helped police pinpoint it as a Datsun model.
No license-plate number has been identified.
A widely distributed police bulletin, issued Tuesday, first described the car in the videos. It said the information was being shared for "officer safety" but there "is no probable cause for arrest at this point."
Police, concerned the car would be hidden or destroyed, waited to publicly release the description of the Datsun until they had a chance to search for it on their own. Unable to find it, they decided to ask for help.
Pugel said investigators now fear the assailant has gotten rid of his car or fixed it. Brenton's partner, Britt Sweeney, shot at the car as it fled, possibly damaging it.
The search for the Datsun comes as the city prepares for today's public memorial service for Brenton at KeyArena and a massive procession of law-enforcement and firefighting vehicles.
Brenton, 39, a field-training officer, and Sweeney, 33, a student officer, were sitting in their parked patrol car on 29th Avenue, when a car pulled next to them and someone inside fired a barrage of shots shortly after 10 p.m. Saturday.
The shooting came nine days after four police vehicles were set on fire with pie bombs at a city maintenance yard Oct. 22 by someone who left a note threatening to kill police officers, according to law-enforcement sources. Police are looking for ties between the two incidents.
Pugel, citing the profile, said the shooter might have practiced with weapons shortly before the attack and "may have been outspoken about a deep grievance."
He said the profile was developed over three days with the help of local, state and federal agencies that he didn't identify.
Pugel said that the suspect's "weapons use and close-quarters technique possibly suggest some prior training," and that those skills were likely developed through prior employment or hobbies.
"He has likely practiced a great deal with weapons and those around him will note his abilities in these," he said.
Pugel said the "stress of the homicide" has likely weighed on the suspect.
"After the homicide, the suspect may have displayed uncharacteristic behavior, such as being silent or quiet about the shooting when others would have expected him to be outspoken about it," Pugel said.
The assailant also might have appeared overly fascinated with news reports about the shooting, he said.
The shooting also could be the work of "a small group" with one "dominant male" leader matching the assailant's profile, Pugel said.
The group might have helped in planning but didn't expect a shooting to be carried out, he said.
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