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Originally published November 19, 2009 at 12:15 PM | Page modified November 19, 2009 at 10:45 PM

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Rookie cop ready to 'fight the fight,' return to duty after officer's fatal shooting

Rookie Seattle police officer Britt Sweeney admits she is anxious about returning to duty after watching the fatal shooting of her partner, Timothy Brenton, three weeks ago.

Seattle Times staff reporter

Rookie Seattle police officer Britt Sweeney admits she is anxious about returning to duty after watching the fatal shooting of her partner, Timothy Brenton, three weeks ago.

"There is some anxiety. I can't lie," she said Wednesday in a television interview, breaking her silence about the horrific Halloween night in which she and Brenton were ambushed as they sat in their patrol car in the Leschi neighborhood.

"Things like this affect you," Sweeney told David Rose, host of "Washington's Most Wanted" on Q13 Fox television. "But it would be a big disservice to Tim to not get back out there and live my life and fight the fight."

Sweeney, 33, just two months out of the police academy, was on her second night of training with Brenton, 39, a field-training officer, when the shooting occurred as they were discussing a traffic stop they had just completed.

Christopher John Monfort, 41, who was shot and apprehended by police six days later at his Tukwila apartment complex, has been charged with aggravated murder in Brenton's killing.

Monfort also has been charged with attempted murder in the shooting of Sweeney, who was grazed by a bullet; with trying to kill officers in the firebombing of police vehicles Oct. 22; and with trying to shoot a detective during his Nov. 6 apprehension. Monfort remains hospitalized at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle in satisfactory condition and, according to his family, is paralyzed from the waist down.

Sweeney, a former personal trainer, has been widely praised for her veteran-like actions immediately following the shooting, when she quickly radioed for help and returned fire at the shooter's fleeing car. A bullet hole was found in a car owned by Monfort.

Since then, Sweeney said in the interview, she has been sustained by the outpouring of support and messages she has received, many from people she has never met.

"I have yet to find the combination of words in the Webster's dictionary to say thank you, to tell everybody how amazing they have been," she said.

Sweeney attributed her response the night of the shooting to her training, noting how little experience she had as a police officer.

"There was no thought involved, pure action," explained Sweeney, who was not allowed to discuss details of the shooting in the interview because she will be a prosecution witness.

She said she will return to duty when the time is right, and sought to put in perspective how the experience has affected her.

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"Probably no different, really, than anybody who has been on for 10 or 20 years," she said. "I think that, again, being human we all have the same fears and anxieties and emotions. I just have much longer in my career left to deal with potentially more incidences."

Her family, she said, has been "wonderful," realizing police work is what she wants to do.

They have been positive and proud, "rather than wallowing in the sorrow of what if or what could be."

"So I really give them a lot of credit to put their feelings and fears on the back burner to support me," she said.

Sweeney also revealed her reaction to Monfort's shooting and capture, just as the massive memorial service for Brenton was concluding at KeyArena on Nov. 6.

"Poetic justice, I think, says it all," she said.

Information from Seattle Times archives is included in this report.

Steve Miletich: 206-464-3302 or smiletich@seattletimes.com

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