Seattle Police Identify Suspect in Killing of Officer

Seattle police on Saturday identified a 41-year-old man as the person suspected of shooting and killing a police officer on Halloween night.

At a news conference, Seattle Assistant Police Chief Jim Pugel identified Christopher Monfort as the man shot by police on Friday as he was sought in connection with the killing of Officer Timothy Brenton. Brenton was sitting in a car with rookie Officer Britt Sweeney following a traffic stop when he was shot. Sweeney was grazed in the neck.

Monfort was in serious condition in the intensive care unit at Harborview Medical Center Saturday morning, hospital spokeswoman Susan Gregg-Hanson said. He underwent hours of surgery Friday night and arrived at the hospital in critical condition with "multiple injuries."

Detectives have asked the King County prosecutor's office for formal charges.

"At this moment we cannot find any ties to anyone else," Pugel said.

Pugel also said they believe Monfort is connected to the Oct. 22 firebombings of three Seattle police cruisers and a mobile command post at a nearby city garage. Investigators reportedly found a note threatening to kill officers and fliers protesting police brutality at the arson scene.

Seattle detectives were pursuing a tip from a citizen in the case Friday at an apartment complex in the south Seattle suburb of Tukwila, Pugel said. Television footage showed dozens of cruisers surrounding the building, while some officers examined a car that, though covered by a tarp, resembled the profile of a vehicle seen nearby when the officer was killed.

Inside Monfort's apartment, Pugel said, investigators found two rifles in the apartment, including a military-style assault rifle being examined as the possible weapon used to kill Brenton.

Pugel also said they found improvised explosive devices, which police had to disarm before removing.

Friday's shooting happened as a memorial service for Brenton was finishing at Seattle's KeyArena.

Pugel said detectives were walking to speak with other law enforcement at the apartment conducting surveillance when Monfort left his apartment and approached the three detectives.

According to Pugel, detectives started asking Monfort questions at which time he pulled a gun and tried firing at the detectives. The gun did not fire and Monfort tried to escape up some stairs.

At the top of the stairs, Monfort again displayed his gun toward detectives who fired, Pugel said, and the detectives fired four to six times.

Pugel did not know how many shots hit Monfort.

The three detectives have been placed on paid administrative leave, Pugel said.

The Seattle Times reported that Monfort received a bachelor's degree from the University of Washington in March 2008, according to the university's degree-validation Web site. His major was in Law, Societies and Justice.

Last year, Monfort belonged to the McNair Scholars Program, part of the university's office of Minority Affairs and Diversity. The program aims to help prepare undergraduate students for graduate work.