Ofc. Tim Brenton remembered as courageous, selfless

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by KING5.com and Associated Press

NWCN.com

Posted on November 6, 2009 at 8:21 AM

Updated Sunday, Nov 3 at 8:11 PM

SEATTLE – Thousands of people, including law enforcement from across the country and Canada, filled KeyArena Friday afternoon for a memorial service to honor slain Seattle Police Officer Timothy Brenton.

Honor guards with bagpipes, drums and flags took part in the ceremony.

"In honoring Tim, we will honor the values he stood for and lived by," said Interim Police Chief John Diaz. "It was Winston Churchill who noted that the truly great aspects of the human condition are fundamentally simple. In fact, they could be expressed in single words - freedom, justice, honor and duty. And the most defining of the human qualities - courage. Simple words to say. Far more difficult to achieve, and yet Tim embodied those qualities."

Diaz also thanked rookie officer Britt Sweeney, who survived the shooting that killed Brenton, for her courage under fire. He vowed that those responsible for Brenton's death would be brought to justice.

"In this, our darkest hour of grief, let us remember Officer Timothy Brenton. Let us be inspired by his service. Let us be humbled by his sacrifice," said Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels.

"As officer Brenton demonstrated, putting on the uniform is an act of courage every day, every time," said Gov. Christine Gregoire. "His service was noble. It was selfless. It was for the cause of justice."

After speaking, Gregoire presented a State of Washington flag to Brenton's family.

"I knew that he died doing what he loved. He will be remembered. He will be missed," said former Seattle Police Chief Gil Kerlikowske, who now is director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy
Officer Evan Ehring, Brenton's former partner, brought the gathering to laughter, telling stories of Brenton's sense of humor.
"My abs have hurt more from laughing in the car than any workout I have done," said Ehring, who told of one night when he and Brenton pulled over a man on a warrant.
"Tim stepped out of the car and said 'Sorry, you have a warrant.' The guy hung his head as I started to handcuff him and Tim says, 'But I do have some good news … I just saved a bunch of money on my car insurance by switching to Geico.'" Ehring said by the time they got to the jail, even the man they arrested was laughing about it.
High above the arena, a flag atop the neighboring Space Needle waved, displaying the Seattle Police Department logo, a police badge with black tape across it and Brenton's badge number, 6699.

More than 1,000 police cars escorted Officer Brenton's remains from the University of Washington Friday morning through the streets of Seattle to KeyArena.

As the procession passed the East Precinct at about 9:37 a.m., officers and brass stood at attention. Mourners stood across the street from the precinct, some with hands over their hearts, fighting back tears of sorrow. For those who work at the precinct, they know the job must go on.

"It's for the family. That's why you do it is for the family. We have to be strong for the family," said Lt. Sean O'Donnell. "There will be a lot of tears shed by a lot of people and it will be well OK."

On Denny Way near the Space Needle, two Seattle Fire Department ladder trucks hoisted an American flag, creating an arch with their ladders as the procession passed underneath.

As the procession arrived at KeyArena, hundreds of officers lined the walk from First Avenue to the arena entrance to escort  Officer Brenton's remains inside for the funeral.

Seattleites lined First Avenue outside the Arena, including friends of the fallen officer and strangers like Brad Hawkins, who brought his 2-year-old son to witness this dark moment in the city's history. Hawkins has seen firsthand how the killing is touching so many lives.

"Stopped a police officer and just offered my condolences and turned out that he knew (Brenton) personally and the family. We just had a big teary moment on Monday. It was really something," said Hawkins.

Many are emotionally torn between anger at the killer, frustration over his ability to elude police and deep sadness for the Brenton family.

For some, the service is simply a time to remember and respect.

"I have brothers on law enforcement. If it happened to them I would hope the public would show the same support. That's what I'm here for," said Seattle resident Greg Beavers.

Brenton leaves behind a wife and two children, ages 8 and 11.

Among the mourners at KeyArena were King Co. Executive-elect Dow Constantine, Sen. Patty Murray and Rep. Jim McDermott.

Minutes after the memorial, Seattle police along with several other agencies arrested a person of interest in Officer Brenton's murder at an apartment complex in Tukwila. That person was shot by police and taken to the hospital.
 

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