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Murder suspect profile; vehicle of interest images

The below statment was read by Assistant Chief Jim Pugel at a Seattle Police Headquarters news briefing on November 5th, 2009 at 3 p.m.
“While I cannot discuss all of our current investigation details and methods, please know that we are working with local, state and federal agencies to process all of the forensic evidence.  There is no technology or resource that is not or will not be fully exploited in order to identify the individual (or individuals) responsible for this crime.  As we continue in our efforts, we are calling for the assistance of the public to help us identify this subject or this group.  We believe this subject engaged in recognizable behaviors and activities prior to, during and after the commission of this crime.  He likely possesses certain traits and characteristics that would be noted by those around him.

His skills in weapons use and close quarter techniques suggest prior training.  He has likely practiced a great deal with weapons and those around him will note his abilities and interest in them.  These skills may have been developed through previous employment or hobbies.  In the days and weeks prior to the shooting, he may have increased his practice with weapons.

After the shooting, he may have disposed of, altered, hidden or repaired his vehicle in some form.  This vehicle may have been damaged in the firefight.  It is described as a 1980 to 1983 Datsun 210.  It is important that if anyone has recently sold a vehicle of this type or had one stolen that they call Seattle Police at 206 233-5000.

After the homicide, he may have displayed uncharacteristic behavior, such as being silent and quiet about the shooting when others would have expected him to be outspoken about it.  He may also display an uncharacteristic interest or even fascination in the news of the shooting.  Regardless, the stress of this homicide may cause him to behave differently from his norm.

On Halloween night, October 31st, he was notably absent for a period of time, in the hours before midnight.  If there are others who are a part of his life and aware of his routine, and this includes relatives, co-workers, friends or others, he will have had to provide a plausible explanation for this absence to them.

He likely has experienced a significant personal crisis in the recent past.  This event may have been the death of a loved one, loss of job or status, divorce, financial hardship, or other failure.  Whatever it is that is bothering him, he may often be outspoken about what he perceives to be a deeply personal grievance.  We’d like to know what this grievance is.  His grievance may relate to his employment or position in life.  We do believe that although he shot a police officer, he may in fact admire them and even act like them. 

He knows that there are very good officers, and Officer Tim Brenton was a very good officer who swore a solemn oath to protect our citizenry.  We’d like to know why this person chose the Seattle Police Department as the target of his grievance.

While it may appear we are focusing on a sole male offender, we have not ruled out the possibility of this crime being committed by a small group.  What I have been describing is the likely personality and behavior of the dominant individual behind this plan that has turned into a serious crime.  In fact, there may be others involved in the planning or actual attack who may not have expected this incident to have become the murder of a good and innocent police officer.  If there is such an individual he or she may be in fear for their own safety.  We are willing to listen and help, if such an individual wishes to contact us about the killer.

Clearly, we are also willing to listen to the offender to better understand his grievance.

We ask the public to carefully consider the information provided above and consider whether or not they may know this offender or have noted behaviors or activities suggestive of involvement in this incident.  Please contact the Police Department if you feel you may have information related to this crime, no matter how insignificant it may appear to you.  You may contact us by the following ways:  206-233-5000, anonymously to Crime Stoppers at 206-343-2020 or through a text message by texting TIP486 with a message, then sending that to 274637 (CRIMES). 

We also remind the public of the $105,000 reward for information leading to an arrest in this investigation.”

Below are pictures of the 1980 to 1983 Datsun 210.  The color appears to be white or beige.  These images were captured by Seattle Police Department in-car cameras of officers responding to Officer Sweeney’s call for help.  The images were captured in the vicinity of the murder.  The image with the OCT 31 2009, 9:46:57 PM time stamp was taken from the in-car camera of Officer Brenton and Sweeney’s patrol car.  Detectives believe that the pictures are of the same vehicle of interest.

The vehicle of interest is on the left hand side of the frame

The vehicle of interest is on the left hand side of the frame.

The vehicle of interest in the left hand side of the frame

The vehicle of interest in the left hand side of the frame.

The vehicle of interest is in the center of the frame, sideways facing left.

The vehicle of interest is in the center of the frame, sideways facing left.