Murder suspect's former teacher speaks out

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by RIOBERTA ROMERO / KING 5 News

NWCN.com

Posted on November 8, 2009 at 5:58 PM

Updated Monday, Nov 9 at 12:04 PM

LYNNWOOD, Wash. - Garry Wegner cannot believe his former student, 41-year-old Christopher Monfort is what police call a "domestic terrorist."

"I was absolutely shocked," he said.

Wegner knows Monfort as a hardworking and studious man, focused on his academics and trying to make a difference.

"What went so tragically wrong, I have no clue," said Wegner.

Now police say Monfort is linked to the killing of Seattle Police Officer Tim Brenton.

Inside Monfort's apartment, police found high-powered rifles, ingredients to make bombs and angry written manifestos against law enforcement.

For two years Christopher Monfort came to Highline Community College, taking classes with Garry Wegner in the justice program.

Wegner says most of his students planned to go into law enforcement careers, but not Monfort.

"He told me he was real excited about grad school because he had decided to become a college professor in history with an emphasis on constitutional law," said Wegner.

Wegner teaches justice administration classes at Highline, but his career in law enforcement goes back even further. He is the retired deputy director of the Washington State Criminal Justice Training Commission, the state agency that operates police academies.

To know his former student could be involved in killing a police officer is difficult for him to face.

"Most to my professional life I've supported law enforcement and now I've found out that I actually educated a cop killer, if the allegations are true, it's probably the most emotional bind I've been in," he said.

Now his former student is under police guard and Wegner is left to wonder if there was anything he could have done to prevent this tragedy.

"I haven't cried over students, but I cried on Friday night," he said.

Wegner last spoke with Monfort about five months ago. Monfort told him he was mentoring at-risk kids at King County juvenile hall.

 

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