SEATTLE — Police and community members on Sunday searched for answers in what officials called a cold-blooded assassination of Seattle Police officer Timothy Brenton of Marysville.
Brenton, 39, was gunned down late on Saturday in an apparent drive-by shooting in Seattle’s Leschi neighbo
rhood, Seattle police officials said during a press conference on Sunday afternoon. He left behind a wife and two young children.
Brenton and Britt Sweeney, a rookie officer he was training, were talking in a patrol car just after 10 p.m. when Sweeney noticed a vehicle approach from the left, officials said.
Sensing danger, she yelled to alert Brenton and ducked.
Shots rang out, killing Brenton instantly and grazing Sweeney.
She called backup and returned fire. The shooter or shooters quickly left the scene. Officials didn’t know on Sunday if the suspect car had been hit.
Sweeney was treated at the Harborview Medical Center in Seattle and released. Officials praised her actions on Saturday night. She has been with the department for less than seven months.
“This is a loss for all in our family of law enforcement,” said state Rep. Mike Hope, R-Lake Stevens, a 12-year veteran of the Seattle Police Department.
Brenton spent more than eight years at the department. Hope didn’t know him, as he works in a different precinct.
Learning that the killing may have been premeditated was a real shock, Hope said.
“Any time a law enforcement officer is killed in the line of duty, it’s devastating to the whole law enforcement community,” he said.
In front of Brenton’s Marysville home, a Snohomish County sheriff’s deputy and a Marysville police officer stood guard on Sunday afternoon out of respect for the slain officer’s family.
Neighbors told The Herald they didn’t want to comment to honor the family’s privacy.
“It’s hard to believe that something like this has occurred,” Everett Police Chief Jim Scharf said. “Now that it did, it’s going to make all officers in the Puget Sound area more aware of their surroundings.”
A police officer’s job has grown more dangerous than ever before, he said. Brenton’s tragic death likely will lead police departments in the region to make changes in their training procedures.
“This gives an indication of what all of our officers will face,” Scharf said.
Brenton was a field training officer. The department routinely pairs experienced officers with rookies, Seattle Assistant Police Chief Jim Pugel explained.
Brenton and Sweeney started their shift just a few hours before the shooting. They made a traffic stop about 9:30 p.m. and, following department policy, were debriefing. The car was parked near 29th Avenue S. and E. Yesler Way. Brenton was in the passenger’s seat and Sweeney in the driver’s when shots were fired.
Officials said they found no indication the shooter or shooters were after Brenton. The department is devoting every available resource to find his killer.
“Our community is in shock at this brutal and senseless crime,” Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels said during the press conference.
The last Snohomish County officer who died in the line of duty was Brier police officer Edwanton Thomas. He died on Sept. 12, 2006, from a heart condition following a struggle.
In 1999, a young Everett police officer, Brian DiBucci, was killed after he fell 100 feet from a highway overpass during a foot chase. The Everett Police Department established an award in his name.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Katya Yefimova: 425-339-3452, email@example.com.