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It began, appropriately enough, on Halloween night (2009), because it’s always good to weave a little occult symbolism into the story right from the start. In fact, let’s throw in a bit more by noting that Officer Brenton, whom we will meet in the next paragraph, sported Seattle Police Department badge number 6699.
As the Associated Press reported early the next morning (“Seattle Police Officer Killed in ‘Assassination,’” November 1, 2009), “A veteran Seattle police officer was fatally shot Saturday night as he and a rookie officer sat in their patrol car in the Central District. The officer who was killed was identified as Tim Brenton, 39, a nine-year veteran of the Seattle Police Dept. … The shooting occurred shortly after 10 p.m. at 29th Avenue S. and E. Yesler Way. Assistant Police Chief Jim Pugel said the two officers were sitting in a patrol car parked at the intersection, discussing a routine traffic stop. The rookie officer, Britt Sweeney, 33, was sitting in the driver’s seat; her trainer, Brenton, was in the passenger seat. Pugel said a car pulled up alongside the patrol car and someone inside opened fire. Sweeney ducked, and a bullet grazed her back. She called for help and returned fire, Pugel said … Sweeney, who was grazed by a bullet, managed to return fire as the car backed away and fled the scene. ‘From everything that we understand, the car literally pulled up alongside the parked patrol car and began shooting,’ said Pugel. ‘So it was without warning and it was a deliberate homicide.’ Police say they do not have a good description of the suspect or the make of the car, other than to say it may be small, light-colored, possibly gray or silver.”
The next day, King 5 News added a few more details (“Police Believe Officer’s Murder was Planned,” November 2, 2009): “Police now say the shooting that killed a Seattle police officer late Saturday night was a planned hit. With no word on any arrests or even a suspect, police and the community are on edge … Investigators believe the gunman approached Brenton and rookie officer Britt Sweeney as they sat discussing a traffic stop at 29th Avenue South and East Yesler Way. The 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.”
Notice, by the way, that the above cited report specifically refers to the “gunmen” driving up to the patrol car, which may or may not have been a typo. According to (“Police: DNA, Ballistics Link Monfort to Officer’s Killing,” November 9, 2009), “A witness who had been walking her dog told police that during the earlier traffic stop, at least one person in a small hatchback appeared to be watching the officers with the car’s headlights off at times. The woman said she thought she saw two silhouettes, but was not sure.” There would be no further mention of more than one assailant in any media accounts.
That same day, the Seattle Times added some details as well (“Drive-By Shooting Apparently Targeted Seattle Police at Random,” November 2, 2009): “Seattle police say the fatal drive-by shooting of veteran Officer Timothy Brenton on Saturday night represented something the department had not seen before: the apparent targeting of police at random. ‘It was incredibly brazen and bold,’ said Assistant Police Chief Jim Pugel, who called the shooting an ‘assassination’ … Police have not identified any suspects or a motive in the shooting … Sweeney was seated in the driver’s seat of the patrol car, with Brenton in the passenger seat, as the officers parked in a quiet, tree-lined residential street … A small, light-colored sedan pulled up next to their car. Both vehicles were facing south. For some reason, Sweeney ‘sensed’ trouble and reacted by ducking, Pugel said. Gunfire blasted from the sedan without warning, police said. The bullets entered the police car through the driver’s window. Both officers were wearing bulletproof vests, police said.”
It would appear then that the Seattle Police Department had very little to work with in regards to solving this brutal crime. Officer Sweeney apparently did not get a good look at either the car or its occupants before ‘sensing’ trouble and providing the gunman with a clear shot at Brenton, and the squad car’s dashboard camera did not get a look either. And since the assailant never exited the vehicle, it stands to reason that the only physical evidence that would have been left behind would have been the slugs that ripped into Officer Brenton.

Though media reports made no mention of the type of weapon used, the most logical choice, given the close quarters, would have been a handgun. That would have been particularly true if the driver of the vehicle, rather than a passenger, was the gunman (particularly if the driver was right-handed). It should be noted, by the way, that it obviously would have been far easier to pull off this hit, if it in fact went down as described by police and the media, if the gunman had been riding in the passenger seat.
Despite the initial lack of leads, it didn’t take long at all for Seattle’s finest to identify a suspect and dispatch a hit squad. On November 6, while hundreds (thousands, by some reports) of law enforcement officers from departments throughout the area were massed at a memorial service for Officer Brenton, three unnamed detectives arrived at an apartment complex in the nearby suburb of Tukwila. “Police were led to the apartment,” according to the Seattle Times (“Flags Were Key Link to Cop Slaying, Bombings,” November 7, 2009) after learning that an occupant “owned a car that matched the description of a 1980 to 1982 Datsun 210 coupe seen near the site of Brenton’s slaying last Saturday night … An image of the vehicle was captured by the cruiser’s dash camera.”

The Times further reports that, “Police found a Datsun, draped with a car cover. They waited until a man approached the vehicle, said Tukwila police spokesman Mike Murphy. King County sheriff’s Sgt. John Urquhart said three detectives confronted the man in the complex’s parking lot and asked to speak with him. The man ran away, bolting up an exterior staircase where he turned, pulled out a handgun and pointed it at the officers. ‘For some reason, it didn’t go off,’ said Urquhart. The man then turned and ran again, with the detectives in close pursuit. ‘They caught up to him after a relatively short distance, whereupon this individual turned again, presented the gun and was shot by the detectives,’ Urquhart said.”
Well, that certainly is a credible story – except for the part about the image from the dashboard camera that police had previously said did not exist. And the fact that it is extremely unlikely that three detectives, confronted by a man who aimed a gun at them and pulled the trigger, wouldn’t immediately return fire, especially if the gun-wielding man was suspected of having already assassinated a fellow officer. And according to the story, Monfort “pulled a pistol and pointed it at a detective’s head, police said. He allegedly pulled the trigger, but the gun misfired.” A few days later, the Seattle Times reported that police had revealed that the suspect’s gun had failed to go off because he had neglected to put a round in the chamber. According to that report (“Prosecutor: Killing of Seattle Cop a ‘One Man War,’” November 12, 2009), “This oversight saved the life of the police officer, who was only a few feet away.” (emphasis added)

So again, it makes perfect sense that the three detectives would not have immediately gunned down or otherwise taken down a suspect who had just essentially held a gun to a detective’s head and pulled the trigger – though a fellow officer on the Seattle force would react much differently to a much less threatening and far more ambiguous situation, as we shall see later in this saga.
The suspect, one Christopher John Monfort, was shot twice – once in the face and once in the abdomen. There is little doubt that he was not supposed to survive his wounds. One in the head and one in the torso is, as I’m sure I’ve mentioned in some past post, the mark of a trained assassin, and it usually gets the job done. Monfort somehow survived his wounds, however, though he is now reportedly paralyzed from the waist down and confined to a wheelchair, after spending more than a month in the hospital.

In a post on the Sable Verity blog (“Christopher Monfort: Profile of a Cop Killer,” November 7, 2009), by the way, can be found the following rather curious commentary: “I don’t think this is some grand conspiracy about a dirty cop taken out by another dirty cop who then worked with more dirty cops to frame some random guy for the crime … I don’t think police tried to murder said random guy today outside his apartment as part of their awesome frame up job.”
Hmmm … what I think is that when folks start bashing the notion of ‘conspiracy’ theories before said theories have even really had a chance to formulate, it’s usually because the story being offered for public consumption is a complete work of fiction.
Monfort’s capture was accompanied by the release of an array of evidence against him, including photographs of weapons and numerous crudely improvised explosive devices that allegedly were found in his apartment. One of the rifles allegedly found there, according to the Seattle Times, (“Flags Were Key Link to Cop Slaying, Bombings,” November 7, 2009), was “a ‘military-style assault rifle’ being examined as the possible weapon used to kill Brenton,” although, as previously noted, it would have made far more sense for Monfort to have used that handgun that he allegedly held to the arresting officer’s head.

Also allegedly recovered from Monfort’s apartment, according to one local report (“Child Porn Found on Computer of SPD Murder Suspect,” King 5 News, November 9, 2009), were “massive amounts of child pornography [found] on Monfort’s computer.” It is unclear though whether that was an actual discovery or an attempt to smear the suspect. It has not been mentioned again and none of the charges filed against Monfort concern child pornography.
Within a couple days of Monfort’s arrest/attempted assassination, police were claiming to have an airtight case against him not just for the murder of Brenton and the attempted murder of Sweeney, but also for the firebombing of four police vehicles on October 22, 2009, nine days before the murder of Brenton. That attack, police further claimed, had been a failed attempt to kill multiple officers. Monfort was now being described as a “lone domestic terrorist,” which I’m guessing is a phrase that is going to become rather commonplace in the not-too-distant future.
According to (“Police: DNA, Ballistics Link Monfort to Officer’s Killing,” November 9, 2009), “A .223-caliber rifle found in Monfort’s apartment is a ballistic match to the gun used to kill Brenton and wound his partner, Britt Sweeney, Seattle Assistant Police Chief Jim Pugel said.” And in addition, “DNA collected from the scene of Officer Tim Brenton’s Oct. 31 slaying and the arson of four police vehicles nine days earlier matched samples from Christopher J. Monfort, the man shot Friday by homicide detectives at his Tukwila apartment, police said.”
If you are at all like me, you are probably wondering how Monfort could have possibly left DNA evidence at the scene of what was essentially a drive-by shooting – or, for that matter, at an arson scene. Police, of course, had a ready explanation: “A U.S.flag-patterned bandanna was found at the homicide scene and matched DNA recovered from the arson at the city’s Charles Street maintenance yard.” Indeed, according to the official yarn, police had allegedly already linked the two crimes through DNA analysis before identifying Monfort as their suspect.
And how, you might be wondering, would Monfort’s alleged bandana have been left at the murder scene? Did a freak gust of wind come up and blow it off his head and out the window of his car? The Seattle Police Department would apparently like us to believe that Monfort left it as some kind of cryptic calling card, since the department also claims that he left a tiny American flag at the arson scene. There has been no word from the department as to why Monfort would have done so, or exactly what type of genetic material he would have purportedly left on that miniscule flag.
Early reports claimed that Monfort had attempted to join the Seattle police force but had been frustrated in those attempts. By at least one account, he had also been rejected by the Los Angeles Police Department. Several early accounts also held that he had recently worked as a security guard, which he had presumably had to settle for after being denied the opportunity to become a real cop. These reports were a transparent attempt to concoct a motive for Monfort’s alleged attacks on the police. Later accounts quietly acknowledged that there were no records of Monfort having ever applied to any police department, nor was there any evidence that he had ever worked as a security guard. And those who know him best say that he never expressed much of an interest in working in law enforcement.
Though most media outlets were reluctant to admit it, Monfort has no criminal history (the Seattle Times, for example, reported that he “apparently has no felony history,” while King 5 News held that “Monfort has no serious criminal history”; both statements, while technically correct, were deliberately misleading.) In truth, Monfort had served since 2007 as a volunteer teacher at a Seattle juvenile detention facility, a position that required him to undergo an extensive background check. He was found to have no criminal history whatsoever. (emphasis added)
Monfort also, by all accounts, has no history of violence. He is generally described as a polite, relatively soft-spoken young man who has never shown the slightest propensity for physical violence or even verbal aggressiveness. His supervisor at the juvenile facility told Seattle Times reporters (“Self-Doubts Troubled Suspect in Killing of Officer,” November 10, 2009) that “she never would have guessed that Monfort would be tied to violent crimes – ‘never in a million years.’” According to others at the facility, “there was no inkling of violent behavior.”
When the ‘frustrated rent-a-cop goes on rampage against real cops’ storyline failed to hold up, police and the media quickly cooked up a new motive: Monfort had been pulled over in a routine traffic stop on October 15, 2009, just one week before the firebombing of police vehicles and two weeks before the execution of Officer Brenton, and it was Monfort’s rage over this incident that supposedly prompted the attacks.
During that uneventful stop, Monfort was cited only for failure to provide proof of current automobile insurance (raising, of course, the question of why he was initially stopped at all) – in other words, he received what is commonly referred to as a ‘fix-it ticket.’ All that was required of him was to later provide proof of insurance, which hardly seems to explain why a formerly non-violent, law-abiding citizen would suddenly go on a murderous rampage.
The media, as is their wont, largely tried to portray Monfort as a moody, troubled loner who had no close friends or romantic interests and who maintained a rather rocky relationship with family members. When reporters though took the time to speak to those who know him, they got a much different story. What emerged from those reports was a portrait of an educated, intelligent, well-rounded individual.
Monfort is an experienced skydiver and scuba diver, as well as an avid motorcyclist who has a yearning to travel. He also has a passion for painting and, according to his mother, he once “won a prize for one of his paintings.” He also is a “lover of music” and a self-taught guitarist. He was a McNair scholar at Highline Community College, where he was active in student government and was elected “vice president of legislation.” He next obtained a bachelor’s degree in Law, Societies and Justice from the University of Washington.
Monfort is reportedly the grandson of the former owners of the News Times, a small daily newspaper serving the residents of the small farming community of Hartford City, Indiana. He at one time served as a “volunteer for the American Civil Liberties Union” and was a harsh critic of the Bush Administration’s attacks on civil liberties. A project that he completed with the McNair program carried the intriguing though unwieldy title of: “The Power of Citizenship Your Government Doesn’t Want You to Know About: How to Change the Inequity of the Criminal Justice System Immediately, Through Active Citizen Nullification of Laws, As a Juror.”

Garry Wegner, who serves as the program coordinator for Highline College’s Administration of Justice program, said that Monfort “always seemed to be a natural leader, and people would gravitate to him. He put in a lot of work and did well academically.” Wegner further described Monfort as “a mature, stable individual,” and said that “he was shocked to hear that his former student is the suspect in Brenton’s slaying. ‘You’ve shaken me to my toes,’ he told a Times reporter. ‘He’s one of those people you thought would make a difference, a positive, constructive difference.’” (Seattle Times, “Family in ‘Shock and Disbelief’ Over Monfort’s Arrest,” “Self-Doubts Troubled Suspect in Killing of Officer,” and “Flags Were Key Link to Cop Slaying, Bombings”)
On the surface, at least, it is perfectly clear that Mr. Monfort does not fit the profile of a “lone domestic terrorist.” However … there are a couple of troubling aspects to the Christopher Monfort story, beginning with that report of the discovery of a vast cache of child pornography. Though that appears to have been a rather heavy-handed attempt to smear Monfort, given the lack of charges pertaining to the alleged discovery, there is also the possibility that the discovery was real and that it has subsequently been covered up due to the specific nature of the material that was collected.
Readers of Programmed to Kill will recall, by the way, that kiddie porn and caches of weapons and explosives do indeed sometimes go hand-in-hand – though in this case it appears to be quite possible that those weapons and explosives were planted.
Also rather troubling is Monfort’s last known employment, which was as a truck driver with Pilot Freight Services in nearby Kent, Washington. As the Seattle Times reported (“Monfort Fired After Excellent Worker Turned Unreliable,” November 20, 2009), “After almost two years of exceptional work as a truck driver for Pilot Freight Services in Kent, Christopher Monfort suddenly became so unreliable he was fired Aug. 1, according to the corporate official who personally dismissed Monfort. It would be Monfort’s last steady job before he was charged with the Oct. 31 killing of Seattle police Officer Timothy Brenton.”
That “corporate official” who fired Monfort, curiously enough, was one Michael Thompson, “a former 19-year Snohomish County sheriff’s deputy.” Thompson, it seems, “left the Sheriff’s Office as a patrol sergeant in 2007” and went to work for Pilot. “Christopher Monfort worked as a driver for Pilot Freight Services from June 2007 until his firing, said Thompson,” which would appear to indicate that Monfort signed on with Pilot at just about the same time as his boss. According to Thompson, the company “delivers various kinds of freight.” Those deliveries sometimes involve trips across the border into Vancouver, British Colombia.
The incident that allegedly got Monfort fired was a curious one indeed. According to the Times report, “Monfort’s work fell below standards over the late spring and summer, capped by an incident in July in which he failed to notify a dispatcher that he had stopped for a weigh-station inspection while heading to Vancouver, B.C., with a load of temperature-sensitive cherries, Thompson said. As a result, the dispatcher was kept from alerting an air carrier that was to fly the cherries to the Far East.”
You would think that if someone had a load of time-sensitive and temperature-sensitive freight that needed to be flown abroad, that someone would just fly it out of SeaTac or Bellingham International, rather than trucking it across the Canadian border – but apparently that’s not how Pilot Freight rolls.
In completely unrelated news, various concerned parties have recently reported that Vancouver is a major hub for trafficking in a most unsavory type of freight: humans. And much of that freight is said to come from the same place those alleged cherries were supposed to be shipped out to; as University of British Columbia law professor Benjamin Perrin recently noted, “Vancouver is considered to be a hub for Pacific human trafficking.” The British Columbia Human Rights Coalition concurred, reporting that, “Canada has been identified as both a transit and a destination point for human trafficking, and Vancouver has been singled out by the US state department as a port of major concern.”
And it gets better. According to far more shocking allegations (, there is no shortage of other unsavory freight being shipped through Vancouver, including illegal drugs and weapons, and, perhaps inevitably, child pornography. According to witness statements taken from social workers, tribal elders and self-described victims, Vancouver is home to a protected network of pedophiles engaged in such pursuits as rape, torture, murder, child pornography, production of snuff films, and ethnic cleansing. Other then all that though, it seems like a great place to hold the Olympic games, especially since, as Perrin noted, “Traffickers will view the 2010 Olympics as the biggest business opportunity for them in decades.”
The network is said to be protected by virtually all levels of law enforcement and the judiciary, as well as by well-placed confederates in the church, the media, and other institutions of the state. If all of that sounds all too familiar, it is probably because you’ve spent time swimming in the sewers of the Franklin case in Omaha, Nebraska (, or possibly the Marc Dutroux case in Belgium (
One of the names mentioned in Vancouver witness statements is that of comedian Eddie Murphy, who stands accused of murdering two local women, one a porn star and the other a prostitute. Does anyone remember, by the way, when Murphy was caught cruising with a transsexual prostitute whom he had, uhmm, ‘mistakenly’ picked up? As I recall, he explained it away and the story seemed to quickly disappear, though there was a final act to that drama that went unreported: soon after his/her brief moment in the spotlight, Murphy’s escort plunged to his/her death from the window of a seedy motel. Shit happens, I guess.
One other item of curiosity concerning the Vancouver witness statements: listed therein are a handful of names of local media figures who declined to investigate or report on the story. One of those names is “Karen Urguhart,” which appears to be a misspelling of Karen Urquhart. Curiously enough, the King County Sheriff’s spokesman who has provided the media with the official narrative on the shooting of Christopher Monfort is Sgt. John Urquhart. Given the geographic proximity and the rather uncommon name, it is not inconceivable that there is a family connection.
Anyway … returning now to Seattle, remember how police were originally led to Monfort as a suspect after receiving a tip that he owned a car matching the description of the vehicle allegedly used in the attack? You’ll never guess where that tip came from: “[Former Sheriff’s deputy] Thompson passed Monfort’s name to Seattle police after Brenton’s killing when investigators said they were looking for an early 1980s Datsun sedan believed to have been used in the shooting. Thompson said he knew Monfort drove a car that matched the description.”
In the same article (Seattle Times, “Monfort Fired After Excellent Worker Turned Unreliable,” November 20, 2009), Thompson described Monfort as being “very intelligent and always studying or reading a book.” He further noted that, “In all their conversations … Monfort conveyed his views in peaceful terms and said nothing that, in retrospect, raised red flags.” Thompson also said that Monfort “didn’t talk negatively about police and expressed great respect for ‘what I had done [as a law enforcement officer] and my viewpoints.’”
In other words, Thompson had no reason at all to suspect that Monfort might be involved in any way in the murder of Officer Brenton, but he apparently decided it would be a good idea to turn him in anyway.
Monfort was released from the hospital on December 8 and promptly booked into jail to await trial. His booking into jail marked the first time, after more than a month of confinement, that his attorneys were able to speak privately with their client. Those attorneys were initially denied the opportunity to meet with their client at all, until they went to court complaining that they’d “been unable to speak to Monfort. The attorneys said that not only do they believe their client is in trouble, but that the police are not allowing him his rights. ‘You have a person who’s medicated, who’s very suggestible, who’s probably very devastated, who’s incredibly isolated, who may believe that his family has turned their back, that he has no attorney. And a bunch of officers are standing around him and he doesn’t know who shot him, but he knows it’s a police officer,’ … said attorney Julie Lawry.” (“Child Porn Found on Computer of SPD Murder Suspect,” King 5 News, November 9, 2009)
On November 12, the Seattle Times reported that the suspect’s mother, Suzan Monfort, who had flown in from Alaska, had reported via e-mail that “she and her son’s father have been refused access to their 41-year-old son’s hospital room at Harborview Medial Center … Monfort’s father lives in California and came to visit him after he was shot, the mother said. But he also was denied the chance to see his son.” (“Family in ‘Shock and Disbelief’ Over Monfort’s Arrest”)
Meanwhile, the SPD police blotter reported that, “Setting the stage for Christopher Monfort’s arraignment Monday, a King County Superior Court judge has ruled that the accused cop killer will remain shackled and in jail dress during the proceeding.” That, of course, was to be expected. After all, you never know when a paralyzed man might attempt a daring escape, or launch a surprise attack on a bailiff. Then again, it could just be a really obvious attempt to present a prejudicial image of Monfort to the general public and any potential jurors.
Before Monfort had even made his first court appearance, Seattle was rocked by yet another brazen attack on law enforcement, this one by far the most brutal and deadly. As the Associated Press reported on November 29, 2009, the day of the attack, “Four police officers were shot and killed Sunday morning in what authorities called a targeted ambush at a coffee house in Washington state.” The Times Online (“Police Killed in ‘Ambush’ Outside US Air Force Base,” November 30, 2009) added that, “The four uniformed officers, one of them a woman, were gunned down while working on their laptop computers as they prepared for work around 8:30am local time. They were all wearing bullet-proof vests and their marked patrol cars were parked outside.”
The Times Online added another curious detail as well: “The shooting took place at the Forza coffee shop, just across the street from the McChord Air Force Base outside Tacoma, Washington state, 35 miles south of Seattle.” Nothing suspicious about that, I suppose.
The official story quickly and predictably took shape: one crazed gunman – undoubtedly a ‘lone domestic terrorist,’ though a different ‘lone domestic terrorist,’ since the first one was paralyzed and in police custody – had strolled into the coffee shop and swiftly taken out all four officers. All four armed officers. All four armed and trained officers. All four armed and trained and body-armored officers. One lone un-body-armored assailant with a handgun had done that.
That seems about as likely as a lone suicide bomber strolling onto a secure CIA base in a war zone and taking out eight operatives and wounding a half-dozen more. And we all now that that could never happ … oh, wait a minute, what I meant to say was that it seems about as likely as a military psychiatrist armed with a pair of handguns putting down some 30 people at a military base, several of whom were seasoned combat veter… oh, never mind.
Since when, by the way, does the CIA claim ownership of its personnel when they are killed while on assignment? The CIA is, after all, a secret organization, and there is so much more PR value in identifying the fallen as innocent ‘civilian contractors’ – as in, you know, “these guys were just there to, uhh, rebuild the country and some crazy fuckin’ Muslim killed them all.” Reports also identified the base where the alleged suicide attack went down, as if to say: “Hey!! Do any of you terr’ists out there want to know where all the CIA guys hang out?”
Let’s just suppose, though this is merely speculation, that the fallen CIA personnel had, in the immortal words of Sarah Palin, gone ‘rogue’ and decided that they didn’t really like the way the war was being waged. And let’s further suppose that their deaths were publicized so as to send a very clear signal to any other personnel who might be thinking about likewise going rogue. And, just for the hell of it, let’s also suppose that those four Seattle-area police officers sitting in that coffee shop across the street from the Air Force base had stumbled upon some, shall we say, sensitive information, possibly concerning the execution of Officer Brenton, and they were convened that day at the coffee shop to discuss how to go public with the information and who else on the force they could trust.
Speculation, to be sure, but now the story begins to make a bit more sense.
What doesn’t make any sense, of course, is that one guy with a handgun can take out four body-armored officers (Sergeant Mark Renninger, Ronald Owens, Tina Griswold and Greg Richards) before any of them could effectively return fire. Given the body armor, the assailant would essentially have had to score head shots on all four officers (as was acknowledged by the UK’s The First Post, which reported that the gunman “shot the officers in the head repeatedly with a handgun.”), which isn’t all that easy to do, assuming that the officers weren’t just sitting there waiting their turn. (“Maurice Clemmons, Prime Suspect in the Shooting of Four Police Officers Yesterday, Is at Large,” November 30, 2009)
The obvious conclusion to draw is that there was more than one gunman involved in what appears to have been a professionally orchestrated hit. And that, in fact, is exactly what the Associated Press initially reported: “Pierce County Sheriff’s spokesman Ed Troyer told The News Tribune in Tacoma one or two gunmen burst into the Forza Coffee Co. and shot the four uninformed officers as they were working on their laptop computers, then fled the scene.” (“Washington State Shooting Victims,” November 29, 2009) (emphasis added)
Amazingly, police were able to identify a suspect almost immediately. The Times Online (“Police Killed in ‘Ambush’ Outside US Air Force Base,” November 30, 2009) reported that, “Detective Troyer told reporters that Maurice Clemmons, 37, was one of several people investigators want to talk to but that he could not be called a suspect at this point.” That same day, however, The First Post (“Maurice Clemmons, Prime Suspect in the Shooting of Four Police Officers Yesterday, Is at Large,” November 30, 2009) held that, “Seattle police are searching the city for Maurice Clemmons, the man wanted for shooting dead four Washington state police officers in a coffee shop on Sunday morning. Clemmons, who is believed to have suffered a gunshot wound to the abdomen in the shootout yesterday, was thought to have been holed up in a house in the city this morning. But after sealing off the surrounding neighbourhood and sending in a SWAT team, a search of the residence drew a blank.”

Within a couple days, it would be revealed that police had actually descended on the home in force on Sunday evening, indicating that Clemmons had been fingered as the department’s prime suspect right from the gate: “Police surrounded a house in a Seattle neighborhood late Sunday following a tip Clemmons had been dropped off there. After an all-night siege, a SWAT team entered the home and found it empty. But police said Clemmons had been there.” (Seattle Times, “Lakewood Police Shooting Suspect Killed by Officer in South Seattle Early Today,” December 2, 2009)
Following the quadruple murder, police almost immediately began an intensive 48-hour manhunt for Maurice Clemmons, a man who shared virtually nothing in common with the other ‘lone domestic terrorist’ who had allegedly struck just a few weeks earlier. Unlike Monfort, Clemmons had a very long and sordid criminal history, dating back to his teen years in Arkansas. As the Seattle Times noted (“Maurice Clemmons, Man Wanted for Questioning, Has Troubling Criminal History,” November 30, 2009), “Clemmons’ criminal history includes at least five felony convictions in Arkansas and at least eight felony charges in Washington. The record also stands out for the number of times he has been released from custody despite questions about the danger he posed.”
The Seattle Times further reported that “news accounts out of Arkansas offer a confusing – and, at times, conflicting – description of Clemmon’s criminal history and prison time. In 1990, Clemmons, then 18, was sentenced in Arkansas to 60 years in prison for burglary and theft of property, according to a news account in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette … When Clemmons received the 60-year sentence, he was already serving 48 years on five felony convictions and facing up to 95 more years on charges of robbery, theft of property and possessing a handgun on school property.”
It would appear then that Mr. Clemons was sentenced to as many as 200 years in prison for crimes committed as a juvenile, including 60 years for a pair of non-violent property offenses. According to the Times, however, news accounts “describe a series of disturbing incidents involving Clemmons while he was being tried in Arkansas on various charges. During one trial, Clemmons was shackled in leg irons and seated next to a uniformed officer. The presiding judge ordered the extra security because he felt Clemmons had threatened him, court records show. Another time, Clemmons hid a hinge in his sock, and was accused of intending to use it as a weapon. Yet another time, Clemmons took a lock from a holding cell, and threw it toward the bailiff. He missed and instead hit Clemmons’ mother, who had come to bring him street clothes, according to records and published reports. On another occasion, Clemmons had reached for a guard’s pistol during transport to the courtroom.”
Clemmons served eleven years of his combined sentences before rather notoriously being released by former presidential candidate and archconservative Mike Huckabee. Contrary to what media accounts implied, however, it was not Huckabee’s commutation that ultimately put Clemmons out on the streets allegedly hunting Seattle-area police officers; he would be in-and-out of jail several more times before joining our cast of characters, and he would receive unusual treatment at several points along the way.
Following his release from prison, Clemmons remained on parole – which he very quickly violated. As the Times report notes, Clemmons was accused of “committing aggravated robbery and theft, according to a story in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. He was returned to prison on a parole violation. But in what appears to have been a mistake, Clemmons was not actually served with the arrest warrants until leaving prison three years later. As a result, Clemmons’ attorney argued that the charges should be dismissed because too much time had passed. Prosecutors dropped the charges.”
Lucky break there for Maurice. Following his second release, in 2004, he relocated to the Seattle area and opened Sea-Wash Pressure Washing Landscaping, in partnership with his wife, the following year. As far as can be determined from Seattle police records, Clemmons managed to stay out of trouble and quietly operate his business for five years, from his arrival in 2004 through mid-2009, which is pretty remarkable for a guy who had spent his entire adult life behind bars.
That all changed rather abruptly in May, however, when Clemmons was charged with a long list of felony offenses, including the rape of a twelve-year-old relative and the physical assault of a sheriff’s deputy. As the Times recounted, “During the confrontation in May, Clemmons punched a sheriff’s deputy in the face, according to court records … In another instance, Clemmons was accused of gathering his wife and young relatives around at 3 or 4 in the morning and having them all undress. He told them that families need to ‘be naked for at least 5 minutes on Sunday,’ a Pierce County sheriff’s report says. ‘The whole time Clemmons kept saying things like trust him, the world is going to end soon, and that he was Jesus,’ the report says.”
By a show of hands, how many people were shocked to find yet more allegations of pedophilia in this story?
The Seattle Times would also like us to know that as “part of the child-rape investigation, the sheriff’s office interviewed Clemmons’ sister in May. She told them that ‘Maurice is not in his right mind and did not know how he could react when contacted by Law Enforcement,’ a sheriff’s report says. ‘She stated that he was saying that the secret service was coming to get him because he had written a letter to the President. She stated his behavior has become unpredictable and erratic. She suspects he is having a mental breakdown,’ the report says. Deputies also interviewed other family members. They reported that Clemmons had been saying he could fly and that he expected President Obama to visit to ‘confirm that he is Messiah in the flesh.’”
In June 2009, the “Messiah” made a curious journey to Manhattan, as detailed by the New York Daily News (“I am Jesus … and On the Lam, Seattle Cop Killer Maurice Clemmons Told NY Bishop Bernard Jordan,” December 1, 2009): “Seattle cop killer Maurice Clemmons – shot dead Tuesday by a lone patrolman – drove to New York in June to see a Manhattan minister, declaring God told him to make the trip. He disturbed a June 13 prayer service, trying to rush the stage and yelling, and then approached Bishop Bernard Jordan at his gala 50th birthday banquet the next day. ‘He said he was Jesus. I was kind of shocked,’ Jordan told the Daily News …Clemmons, 37, told Jordan he was running from the police, who wanted him for vandalism. He said he had driven for three days to New York because ‘God called me. The minister – who claims to be a prophet and runs a lucrative ‘cyber-ministry’ on Riverside Drive – told him to go home and turn himself in. ‘I told him, ‘I am sensing strongly that this is something you should do. You should not be on the run. You should get help,’’ Jordan said. Clemmons, a devotee of Jordan’s online chats, appears to have listened. Two weeks later, he showed up at a July 1 Seattle court hearing and was promptly arrested on charges ranging from vandalism to child rape.”
Left unexplained was how Clemmons had managed to get “on the lam” after being booked on at least seven felony counts. Jordan, by the way, is a rather curious, and curiously well connected, individual who will assign you your very own prophet for a year for the modest sum of just $3,000. On his website, you can find various other products and services he hawks to credulous followers (, see also for further info on Jordan)
As reported by the New York Daily News (“I am Jesus … and On the Lam, Seattle Cop Killer Maurice Clemmons Told NY Bishop Bernard Jordan,” December 1, 2009), police were quick to attribute Clemmons’ alleged actions to a rather dubious motive: “When he made bail last week, he was so angry at his imprisonment that he shot four random uniformed cops doing paperwork in a suburban Seattle coffee shop Sunday, officials said. ‘The only motive we have is that he decided he was going to go kill police officers. He was angry about being incarcerated,’ said Pierce County sheriff’s spokesman Ed Troyer.”
So despite having previously spent more than a little time in the US prison system, Clemmons was so enraged at his brief five-month incarceration that he went on a homicidal rampage upon his release, which conveniently came just six days before the carnage at the coffee shop. As the Seattle Times (“Maurice Clemmons, Man Wanted for Questioning, Has Troubling Criminal History,” November 30, 2009) duly reported, Clemmons “was released from custody just six days ago, even though he was staring at seven additional felony charges in Washington state.”
The Times added another curious detail as well: “Prosecutors in Pierce County were sufficiently concerned about Clemmons’ mental health that they asked to have him evaluated at Western State Hospital. Earlier this month, on Nov. 6, a psychologist concluded that Clemmons was competent to stand trial on the child-rape and other felony charges, according to court records.”
It would appear then that shortly before Clemmons’ rather inexplicable release from custody, he spent a little time in a state mental hospital, from which he was apparently released on the very day of Brenton’s memorial service and Monfort’s arrest.
Clemmons will never be able to tell his side of the story and there will be no messy trial that would undoubtedly divulge serious irregularities in the state’s case, since the prime suspect was gunned down on Tuesday, December 1, 2009 in what appears for all the world to have been a cold-blooded execution. All told, five men were gunned down in cold blood in the space of just a few days, all shot in the head, and within a matter of just a couple more days the case was sewn up and put to bed, never to be heard from again.
As the New York Times (“Suspect Slim in Seattle, 4 Are Held as Flight Aids,” December 2, 2009) reported, “A man suspected of fatally shooting four uniformed police officers was shot and killed on a residential street here early Tuesday by a police officer who chanced upon him during a routine patrol when investigating a stolen car, the authorities said …The scale of the investigation contrasted with the apparent isolation of the moment when a Seattle police officer came face to face with Mr. Clemmons early Tuesday.  According to the Seattle Police Department, which posted a report on its Web site, the officer, who was not named, came upon a car in the South Seattle section at about 2:43 a.m.”
As noted by the Times, the SPD posted an account of the shooting, so let’s turn now to the source to see exactly what allegedly happened: “At approximately 2:43 a.m. today, a uniformed patrol officer came upon a suspicious vehicle in the 4400 block of South Kenyon Street.  The vehicle, an Acura Integra, was unoccupied.   The engine was running and the hood was up.  The officer stopped to investigate further and discovered that the Acura was a stolen vehicle. The officer began doing the stolen vehicle recovery paperwork when something caught his attention.  The officer turned around and noticed a subject walking in the street behind his patrol car, approaching on the driver’s side.  The officer got out of his car and ordered the subject to stop and show his hands.  The officer immediately recognized the subject as Maurice Clemmons, the suspect wanted in the murder of four Lakewood police officers.  The suspect refused to comply with the officer’s commands. As the officer was drawing his gun the suspect reached into his waist area and moved. The officer fired several times striking the suspect at least twice. The suspect went down near some bushes on the north side of the street.  Shortly thereafter he was taken into custody.  Seattle Fire Department medics responded and pronounced the suspect dead at the scene. The officer involved was not injured.  He was hired by Seattle Police in March of 2005.  He has prior law enforcement experience and is also a military veteran … The suspect was armed with a handgun, located in a front sweatshirt pocket.  This handgun has been verified by serial number as belonging to one of the murdered Lakewood police officers … The Medical Examiner responded to the scene and collected the deceased suspect.  The Medical Examiner has yet to identify him.  Detectives on scene believe that this person is Lakewood murder suspect Maurice Clemmons. The Acura Integra had been reported stolen at 1:50 a.m. from the 4800 block of South Chicago Street.” (“Police Involved Shooting in South Seattle,” SPD Blotter, December 1, 2009)
According to John Diaz, the interim chief of the Seattle Police Department, “It’s not the way we wanted it to end.” To the contrary, I’m guessing that it is exactly the way authorities wanted it to end.
Like Monfort, Clemmons was shot twice from close range – once in the head and once in the torso. Given that police are trained to aim for the torso, which is a much easier target to hit than the head, and that both Monfort and Clemmons were shot from close range, it is unlikely that the head shots were inadvertent. But that, alas, is but one of many questions raised by the SPD’s dubious account of the shooting.
How, for example, was the unnamed officer able to immediately identify, in the dark, a suspect he had never seen before? That claim becomes even more dubious when we consider a report put out the following day by the Seattle Times (“Lakewood Police Shooting Suspect Killed by Officer in South Seattle Early Today,” December 2, 2009): “As the officer sat in his patrol car doing paperwork on the stolen car, he noticed a man was approaching the driver’s side of the patrol car from behind. The officer immediately recognized the man as matching the description of Clemmons and got out of his patrol car, [assistant Seattle police chief Jim] Pugel said.”
Really, Jim?! So before he even got out of the car, he had positively identified Clemmons? By turning around and looking through the rear window of his car into the 3:00 AM darkness? Or by peering into his side view mirror? How exactly did he do that? And why was it that fellow officers and the medical examiner, who all presumably would have gotten a much better look at Clemmons’ lifeless corpse, weren’t able to positively identify him?
And why, if Clemmons allegedly had a gun in his sweatshirt pocket, was he allegedly reaching for his waistband? And why would he be carrying around such a highly incriminating piece of evidence? And how and when exactly did he manage to disarm at least one of the officers that he allegedly murdered? And why had there been no previous mention of that? And how hard would it have been for the unnamed officer to get his hands on that dead officer’s gun to plant it on Clemmons?
There is certainly nothing suspicious, of course, about the fact that the department opted to not disclose the name of the officer, or about the fact that that unnamed officer was a military veteran. Nor, needless to say, is there anything unusual about the fact that Clemmons had managed to successfully elude the entire department for some 48 hours, but a lone officer just happened to stumble upon him at 3:00 AM on a dark stretch of road.
The officer’s name, Benjamin L. Kelly, was subsequently leaked to the media. In short order, a Facebook ‘fan page’ was set up for the allegedly heroic officer, whom police claimed was lucky to be alive. At last count, the page was approaching 11,000 fans. Such is the nature of the world we live in.
What, in the final analysis, does this all mean? That, alas, is not entirely clear – at least not yet. Suffice it to say that, with the recent spate of cop killings, the impending opening of the 2010 Winter Olympic Games, allegations of serious weirdness transpiring in the Vancouver area, and Vancouver looking more and more like it is under martial law, there are warning signs in the air that something is brewing in the Pacific Northwest – and it ain’t Starbucks Coffee.