"A Lone Domestic Terrorist"

By Jonah Spangenthal-Lee November 7, 2009

Seattle police are now calling the murder of Officer Timothy Brenton and wounding officer Britt Sweeney on Halloween an act of terrorism.

This morning, Assistant Police Chief Jim Pugel described Christopher Monfort—the man suspected of killing Officer Brenton—as "a lone domestic terrorist," and have linked the shooting with an October 22nd bombing at a city maintenance facility in the International District. Pugel said the bombing was a "domestic terrorist event." The department is working with federal authorities on the case.

Police got their big break in the case after the department released photos of a car they believed was used in the shooting. SPD received a tip that a Datsun 210 parked at an apartment in Tukwila had been covered with a tarp shortly after the murder of Officer Brenton on Halloween.

According to Pugel, detectives were surveilling Monfort yesterday afternoon when he approached them in the parking lot of his apartment complex. Monfort drew a weapon, Pugel said, and pulled the trigger. However, the gun misfired and Monfort took off running. Police caught up to him on a flight of stairs, where Monfort again turned towards police, holding a weapon. Officers opened fire, striking Monfort in the head. Police detained two people yesterday evening, but now believe Monfort acted alone. "He's a loner. He does not do much with anyone else," Pugel said.

Police believe officers Brenton and Sweeney were chosen at random, and that the officers were not the ones who wrote Monfort a ticket two weeks before the shooting.

In Monfort's apartment, police found "improvised explosive devices," a military-style assault rifle, one other rifle, as well as a number of handguns and large quantity of ammunition. Police are also investigating reports of loud explosions in the area, and police are now looking to see whether Monfort could have been testing explosives similar to those used in the October 22nd bombing. Pugel says Police have not questioned Monfort, but hope to "as soon as possible."

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