Fallen officer Brenton remembered as hero

Fallen officer Brenton remembered as hero »Play Video
The folded U.S. flag from fallen Seattle Police Officer Timothy Brenton's funeral is handed to his wife, Lisa, and her children.
SEATTLE - Seattle Police Officer Timothy Brenton was remembered as a hero and a teacher at a solemn funeral attended by thousands Friday at Seattle's Key Arena.

"Timothy is a home-grown hero," said Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels as he stood at the podium. "Let us remember him ... let us be inspired by his service and humbled by his sacrifice - and remember that we are all in this together."

Gov. Chris Gregoire also came forward to honor Officer Brenton, saying, "On behalf of all the people of the state of Washington, I thank Officer Brenton and his family and his fellow officers. ... We will cherish his memory always."

"As Officer Brenton demonstrated, putting on the uniform is an act of courage every day, every time," Gregoire said. "His death was tragic. It was unjust - and much worse. ... But we will not allow the unthinkable circumstances of his death to overshadow his life of service. His service was noble, it was selfless. It was for the cause of justice."

"He enouraged the absolute best in all those who wear the uniform and assumed the risk for all of us," the governor said.

Brenton's wife Lisa and his two young children also was honored at the service. They are a "heart-broken family," said Nickels.

Jennifer Crigger, Brenton's sister-in-law, spoke directly to his wife Lisa from the podium, saying, "You're never prepared for such a tragedy in life. You say to yourself that this is never going to happen to me, and then suddenly it does ... and the worst thing in the world has happened to you."

Full video of Brenton's memorial
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The funeral began with remarks by Deputy Chief Clark Kimerer and a moment of silence in the somber arena for the fallen officer who was killed by a gunman who remains at large.

"In our memorial today we seek to give back to Tim some measure of the devotion, humanity and selflessness that he gave to each of us," Kimerer said. "The ceremonies of honor we undertake today represent our human desire to find meaning in unfathomable tragedy."

He remembered Brenton as a teacher, a hero, and a "man of quiet dignity and virtue ... an upright courageous man, a good father, son, husband, brother and friend."

Interim Police Chief John Diaz spoke after a recitation of the national anthem and an invocation by Chaplain John Oas.

"We lost a great police officer," Diaz said. "His life was cut short in a savage attack that was as cowardly and cruel as it was calculated. ... Tim understood duty and honor and courage."

The funeral ended with bagpipers playing "Amazing Grace and a 21-gun salute. Then the colors were retired in a formal flag-folding ceremony and a bugler played Taps.

The ceremony for Brenton followed a long memorial procession Friday morning of more than 1,000 law enforcement officers and firefighters from throughout the region.

Brenton's family arrived under police escort just before 9 a.m. and, as the sun broke through the clouds, the procession began its path through the city on the way to KeyArena.

At Key Arena, a SWAT team stood guard on the roof as a riderless horse, honor guard and bagpipers escorted the family inside.

Brenton was killed instantly in a cold-blooded shooting Halloween night as he was seated in his patrol car. He was training rookie officer Britt Sweeney, who was grazed by the bullets. She was able to return fire and called for backup.

Investigators are now looking for the killer, who fired the shots from a car believed to be a white or beige 1980 to 1983 Datsun 210.

Brenton graduated from West Seattle High School in 1988. After high school Tim enlisted in the U.S. Army where he served in Wildflecken, Germany, and was a veteran of the first Gulf War. One of the highlights of his time in the military was being in Berlin the night the Berlin Wall came down.

After leaving the Army, Tim moved to Spokane and met his future wife Lisa. After earning his degree at Spokane Community College, Tim pursued his lifelong goal of a career in law enforcement.

He began with the Hoquiam Police Department, then moved to the La Conner Police Department, where he served for three years. In 2000, Tim began his career with the Seattle Police Department, fulfilling his life-long dream following in his father's footsteps.

Tim and Lisa were married in December of 1997. Their daughter Kayleigh was born in 1998, and their son Quinn was born in 2001.