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Originally published December 3, 2010 at 5:23 PM | Page modified October 20, 2012 at 1:41 PM

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Documents shed more light on Monfort investigation

The King County Prosecutor's Office on Friday disclosed hundreds of pages of documents related to investigation of the shooting death of Seattle police Officer Tim Brenton. But because extensive portions of the reports were blacked out, the records shed little new light on suspect Christopher Monfort.

Seattle Times staff reporters

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The King County Prosecutor's Office on Friday disclosed hundreds of pages of documents related to the investigation of the shooting death of Seattle police Officer Tim Brenton.

The reports, released under a public record request from The Seattle Times, cast more light on the intense investigation that led to the arrest of Christopher Monfort, 42, who is facing a charge of aggravated murder and the possible death penalty.

But because extensive portions of the reports were blacked out, the records shed little new light on Monfort himself.

For example, the reports include accounts of Monfort talking to police officers who were guarding him while he was hospitalized with gunshot wounds. But what he actually said was redacted. Information about what was found inside his Tukwila apartment after he was arrested also is redacted.

On the night of Oct. 31, 2009, Brenton and an SPD trainee Britt Sweeney were on patrol in Seattle's Leschi neighborhood when a car pulled up alongside. Prosecutors contend that Monfort opened fire with a .223 caliber rifle, killing Brenton instantly and grazing the back of Sweeney, who had ducked.

According to the reports released Friday, Sweeney jumped out of the patrol car and fired 10 bullets from her .40 caliber Glock as the shooter's car sped away. She hit the car, which was owned by Monfort, and stray bullets also hit a parked truck, a light pole, a yard fence and a home.

Officers who immediately responded found Sweeney safe but badly shaken.

During the ensuing investigation, detectives determined that the shooter's car appeared to be an early-1980's Datsun 210.

The records released Friday provide some additional details about the shooting of Monfort on Nov. 6, a week after Brenton was killed:

While a memorial service was being held for Brenton, Seattle police went to a Tukwila apartment complex to check out a report of a tenant having a car matching the suspect's that had recently been covered with a tarp.

At the complex, Monfort walked into the parking lot, encountered the officers, and fled up a nearby stairwell. Sgt. Gary Nelson gave chase, but as he stepped into a landing area, Monfort appeared and, from six to eight feet away, aimed a handgun at Nelson's face and pulled the trigger.

Nelson heard a "dry fire," the sound made when a trigger is pulled, but the gun doesn't go off.

Afterward, Monfort turned and ran again. Upon reaching a fourth-floor landing, Monfort aimed his gun toward Nelson for a second time.

Three officers — Nelson, Sgt. Bob Vallor and Detective Rolf Norton — each fired two shots at Monfort, who was struck in the head and abdomen. Several of the bullets went into a nearby apartment, which was vacant at the time.

Monfort fell face down in front of his apartment door. His gun, a Glock, was found under his body.

Afterward, detectives searching Monfort's apartment found a document near his computer printer that matched a message left at a Seattle city maintenance yard by someone who firebombed police vehicles on Oct. 22, nine days before Brenton's slaying. The bomber had left several messages at the yard protesting police brutality.

Monfort, a truck driver and recent University of Washington graduate, has portrayed himself in a series of speeches delivered in court as a left-wing revolutionary. After a court hearing on Friday, he quoted Thomas Paine as he lambasted the legal system and once again railed against police brutality.

During Friday's hearing, the prosecution and defense agreed that they should not return to court until May 20 in order to continue preparations for a trial date that has not yet been set.

Staff reporter Jennifer Sullivan contributed to this report. Jonathan Martin: 206-464-2605 or jmartin@seattletimes.com. Ken Armstrong: 206-464-3730 or karmstrong@seattletimes.com.

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