'Potential hazard' prompts evacuation of officer murder suspect's apartments

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by KING 5 News and KING5.com Staff

KING5.com

Posted on November 7, 2009 at 10:31 PM

Updated Sunday, Nov 8 at 6:40 PM

Suspect arrested in killing of Seattle Police officer

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TUKWILA, Wash. - After finding what was described as a "potential hazard," police evacuated the north end of the apartment complex Saturday evening where the suspect in the murder of Seattle Police Department Officer Timothy Brenton lives.

Tukwila and Seattle Police on the scene Saturday night decided to evacuate neighboring apartments as a matter of safety. Police called the Tukwila Fire Department to the scene.

About an hour later, police allowed residents of neighboring units back into their apartments.

At a news conference earlier in the day, Seattle Assistant Police Chief Jim Pugel identified 41-year-old Christopher Monfort as the man shot by police on Friday as he was sought in connection with the killing of Officer Brenton.

Weapons and bomb-making materials were found in the Tukwila apartment where Monfort lives, police said.

Pugel said two long rifles, including an assault rifle, along with handguns and improvised explosive devices, were found in Monfort's apartment. Police also found printed articles about the shooting and bombings.

Also found was evidence that could be connected to a threatening note left at the scene of the Oct. 22 bombing and arson at a Seattle maintenance yard.

Pugel said at this point there is no indication that the suspect is connected to anyone else.

"This man, from everything that we can tell, appears to be a lone, domestic terrorist," he said.

The Tukwila apartment building remains cordoned off as the investigation continues.

Pugel said there is a key piece of evidence that is still being analyzed.

"There was one piece of evidence that led us to believe that maybe this was planned - it wasn't identical but resembled something else that was found at the Charles Street scene," he said.

Monfort's mother and aunt -- visibly distraught -- declined to comment today and asked a news crew to leave them in peace.  But they've asked Seattle-area defense attorney John Henry Browne to help them out.

"They're not getting any answers, they don't know about his condition, they have no access to him," said Browne, who said police also denied him access to Monfort.  "They're certainly in shock about the whole situation."

Browne said he would meet with family members Monday to discuss their options.

Monfort is a graduate of the University of Washington, with a degree in Criminal Justice who mentored at risk teens.

Monfort is now under police guard at Harborview Medical Center, where he underwent surgery and is listed in serious condition.

It was an intense and dramatic unfolding of events on Friday. It began with thousands of people gathering together at KeyArena to honor Officer Brenton, who was shot and killed on Halloween night while sitting in his patrol car.

At the same time, Seattle SWAT team members surrounded a Tukwila apartment complex after receiving a credible tip from a neighbor.

"They talked to some of the people who live in the apartments and those persons said since the shooting or soon after the shooting the person who owned the car had covered it," said Pugel.

Police found a white Datsun 210 draped in a tarp and parked in the complex. Eventually, the man they were waiting for came out.

"The suspect tried to flee but he was boxed in and produced a weapon," said Mike Murphy of Tukwila Police.

Three SWAT members opened fire; one round hit the suspect in the face.
 
The Seattle Times says Montfort had been recently laid off as a security guard.

The Seattle Police Dept. is looking through their database to see if Monfort ever applied to be a police officer.

Pugel said the Seattle Police Dept. is still seeking information from the public about the crime.

"If you know of this person, have met him, know anything about him, please call and we will follow up on that information," said Pugel.

You can call Crime Stoppers of Puget Sound at (800) 222-TIPS to report any tips anonymously.

The Seattle Police tipline is (206) 233-5000.

 

 

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