SEATTLE – A suspect in the shooting death of police officer Timothy Brenton was planning to kill cops during a firebombing of four police cars on Oct. 22 by placing booby-trapped explosives under other vehicles, Seattle Police said.
The suspect, Christopher John Monfort – a former University of Washington student who did a study on jury nullification – is in serious condition in hospital after being shot by police following a tip that a vehicle used in Brenton's slaying was parked at an apartment in Kent, some 20 miles south of Seattle.
Police said they have recovered a rifle used to fire shots at Brenton and they have recovered a Datsun that was used during the slaying. It had bullet holes matching the shots fired by Brenton’s partner at the time of the killing.
Monfort was shot by Seattle Police officers when he pulled a gun and attempted to fire twice at police. He is in Harborview Medical Centre in serious condition with a wound to his cheek and to his stomach.
Police said that they found a note about police funerals and jury nullification at the scene of booby-trapped arson of four police cars on Oct. 22.
A search on the website of the University of Washington details a study carried out by Monfort about jury nullification. Monfort was studying history and political science at the university in 2007.
Police had stopped Monfort for a traffic infraction on Oct. 15, a few blocks from where Brenton was shot dead on Oct. 31., police said in a statement.
Police also said they found multiple IEDs at the suspect’s apartment in Kent.
Police gave the following account on Monday of how they caught up with their suspect and what transpired after.
“On November 6th at approximately 2:36 p.m. Seattle Police Homicide detectives received a tip about a car matching the description of a possible suspect vehicle used in the slaying of Officer Tim Brenton,” said a police release.
“Detectives responded to an apartment complex parking lot in the 13,700-block of 56th Avenue South in Tukwila, located the possible suspect vehicle under a tarp and set up surveillance,” they said.
“While detectives were watching the vehicle, an adult male suspect emerged. Detectives attempted to contact the suspect at which point the suspect drew a handgun, pointed it at the detectives and pulled the trigger. The gun didn’t fire. The suspect took off running with the detectives in chase.
“The suspect stopped in a stairwell near his apartment and was manipulating the gun in an apparent attempt to clear a malfunction,” said police.
“ The suspect once again pointed the gun at detectives and the detectives fired on the suspect in self defense, striking him at least once. The suspect was taken into custody and transported to Harborview Medical Center with life-threatening injuries. No detectives were injured,” said police on Monday.
Police said they have made important links between the arson on Oct. 22 and Brenton’s murder on Oct. 31.
“Detectives have recovered DNA evidence from both the October 22nd arson scene at the city maintenance facility and the scene of Officer Brenton’s murder on October 31st. The DNA evidence matches that of Monfort,” said a police statement.
“Detectives recovered a .223 caliber rifle from Monfort’s apartment in Tukwila. A ballistics test of that weapon identifies it as the firearm used in Officer Brenton’s murder and Officer Sweeney’s attempted murder,” police added.
“Also recovered from Monfort’s apartment was a considerable amount of bomb-making material and evidence that indicates that the type of explosive devices Monfort was in the process of making or had made were even more lethal than the ones used in the October 22nd arson. He clearly was intending to inflict even more destruction in his next criminal attack,” added the Seattle Police statement.
“Further examination of the explosive devices used in the October 22ndarson andof the devices found in his apartment indicate that Monfort was intending to harm first responders to the scene, i.e. police and fire department personnel,” they said.
“Evidence recovered from Monfort’s Datsun 210 reveal that the car was struck by at least one of Officer (Britt) Sweeney’s bullets fired from her service weapon during the October 31st incident,” they said.