Seattle police officer murder suspect paralyzed


by Staff

Posted on November 12, 2009 at 11:48 AM

Updated Friday, Nov 13 at 10:44 AM

Monfort's alleged 'one man war' against police

View larger map

SEATTLE – King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg announced Thursday he is filing murder and attempted murder charges against the man who he says launched a  "one man war against the Seattle Police Department."

Christopher Monfort, 41, is charged with aggravated first degree murder in the Halloween night killing of Ofc. Timothy Brenton and attempted first-degree murder for the shooting of Brenton's rookie partner, Ofc. Britt Sweeney.

Monfort is also charged with arson and attempted first-degree murder for a firebombing at a City of Seattle maintenance yard, in which Satterberg says Monfort was planning to kill police.

He also faces attempted first-degree murder for attempting to shoot an officer who was pursuing him the day he was arrested outside his Tukwila apartment.

Meanwhile, Monfort's mother says he is paralyzed from the waist down after he was shot by police last Friday. In a written statement, she says she has not been allowed to see her son, but has been informed of his condition

If convicted on the murder charge, Monfort could face the death penalty. Prosecutors have 30 days to decide whether to pursue that option, although it is often delayed in order to give defense attorneys more time to prepare their case.

Satterberg says Monfort's first target was on Oct. 22. He says Monfort broke into a City of Seattle maintenance yard where police vehicles are kept and set fire to a Seattle Police Department mobile precinct vehicle – one of the vans you often see at major crime scenes. Satterberg says Monfort also placed homemade bombs underneath other nearby cars that were fused to explode after the mobile precinct vehicle caught fire. Satterberg says the fire was deliberately set to lure first responders within the range of the bombs.

"The intent was clearly to kill those officers and those responders, " said Satterberg.

Also left at the scene were several notes which read that "these deaths" were the result of Monfort's anger over acts of police brutality.

"He further warned police that, 'Better get ready to attend a lot more police funerals,'' said Satterberg.

Nobody was killed in the firebombing.

Satterberg says Monfort's anger was punctuated by a large hunting knife with an American Flag affixed to the handle which was plunged through the roof of a patrol car.

Nine days later, Satterberg says that Monfort sat in his 1980 Datsun 210 hatchback and watched as officers Brenton and Sweeney conduct a routine traffic stop. Monfort allegedly watched as the officers parked their car at 29th Avenue and E. Yesler Way.

That's when, Satterberg says, Monfort drove up to the driver's side of the police car, took out a high-powered rifle and opened fire, killing Brenton and wounding Sweeney.

As he backed away from the patrol car and fled the scene, Satterberg says Monfort dropped an American Flag out the window.

As Ofc. Brenton's memorial has happening at KeyArena last Friday, two Seattle police sergeants and a detective were waiting in an unmarked cars outside Monfort's Tukwila apartment. They had received a citizen tip that Monfort's Datsun 210, now covered with a tarp, matched the description of the car police were looking for.

When Monfort left his second-floor apartment, Satterberg says the officers identified themselves, causing Monfort to run back towards his apartment. He allegedly pulled out a handgun, pointing it at Det. Sgt. Gary Nelson. Satterberg says even though the gun was fully loaded, it did not go off because a round was not chambered.

"This oversight saved the life of the pursuing police officer," said Satterberg.

Monfort continued toward his apartment. That's when, Satterberg says, Monfort again pointed his gun toward officers. The officers fired first, hitting Monfort in the stomach and the face.

Monfort's apartment was allegedly filled with three high-powered rifles, a shotgun, homemade explosives, booby traps and a barricade of tires. Satterberg says one bomb was connected to the kitchen stove, ready to go off at the turn of a dial. He also says there were homemade grenades with short fuses, filled with nails and wire.

"His arsenal of weapons suggested both that he was ready to continue his attacks and that he was preparing to make a final armed stand, should he be discovered," said Satterberg.

Prosecutors also say Monfort had copies of the U.S. Constitution and the Declaration of Independence in his pockets.

Satterberg says investigators matched ballistics between a rifle found in the apartment and the bullets used at the murder scene. He also says DNA from Monfort matches DNA found on the flags left at the firebombing scene and the murder scene.