SEATTLE - Police have created a profile of the suspect who shot and killed Seattle Police Officer Tim Brenton on Halloween and they are seeking a specific make of car that might be connected to the crime.
As KING 5 first reported Wednesday night, police are seeking a rare car that could be connected to the killing: A Datsun 210, similar to the one pictured at the top of the page. The car was only manufactured for a few years 30 years ago, so there are very few still around.
Police captured an image of the car from dash cameras mounted in different patrol cars responding to the scene of the shooting Saturday night. On the video there is an image of car - what they believe to be a 1980's Datsun 210 that matches the description given by rookie Officer Britt Sweeney who survived the shooting. The car on the video is also of interest because it was being driven in a suspicious way near the scene.
Police have tracked down the few matching cars registered in the state. Now they want to know if anyone recently sold a Datsun 210 or had one stolen. They also believe the car may have a defective right taillight.
Investigators say the person behind the wheel may be a single male offender, or the member of a small group, and they believe that person likely has had some weapons training.
In a Thursday news conference, police reached out to the killer, asking him or her to contact them so they can have a conversation about what led to the shooting.
Police also said they believe the suspect could be a former member of the military or a former police officer. It could be someone who lost a job or had a personal tragedy. It may even be a small group of people. Others involved may not have known the shooting was going to happen until it did.
They think the suspect was probably doing a lot of target practice in the days and weeks leading up to the shooting.
"After the homicide, the suspect may have displayed uncharacteristic behavior such as being silent or quiet about the shooting when others would have been expected him to be outspoken about it,” said Asst. Chief Jim Pugel, Seattle Police Dept. “He may have displayed an uncharacteristic interest or even fascination in the news of the shooting.”
Police are also investigating a backpack found in downtown Seattle that contained the names of officers, the shifts they work, and when they come and go.
The Seattle Police Department is now offering a $105,000 reward in the manhunt for Brenton's killer. One anonymous donor has pledged $10,000 to the cause.
Investigators believe the gunman approached Brenton and Sweeney as they sat discussing a traffic stop at 29th Avenue South and East Yesler Way. The gunman or gunmen drove close enough to the police cruiser so that Sweeney, who was in the driver's seat, couldn't open her door before ducking down as the gunman opened fire. The killer then backed up, made a three-point turn and headed north up 29th.
Sources in the Seattle Police Department tell KING 5 they believe the driver backed away so that the car could not be captured by the cruiser's dashboard camera.
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.
Memorial service Friday
The memorial service for Officer Brenton is scheduled for Friday, Nov. 6 at 1 p.m. at KeyArena.
A memorial procession of up to 1,500 vehicles will depart from the University of Washington at 9 a.m. and will travel to the service.
During the procession, which is expected to last from 9 a.m. to noon, other traffic will not be allowed on the route and will not be allowed to cross it. The Seattle Department of Transportation advises drivers to expect severe congestion on city streets, especially as mourners are also anticipated along the course.
Family condolences and fund
A fund has been established for the family of Officer Brenton. Donations may be made at any Bank of America branch under the "Brenton Family Assistance Fund."
Cards to the family or Seattle Police Department and donations for the family may be sent to:
Family of Officer Timothy Brenton
c/o Seattle Police Department
1519 12th Ave
Seattle, WA 98122-3907