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Memorial Dedicated to Fallen Seattle Officer

Memorial Dedicated to Fallen Seattle Officer

Flowers are placed on the granite-slab memorial at 29th Avenue and East Yesler Way. (Cliff Despareax | AP)

The Seattle Times via YellowBrix

November 01, 2010

SEATTLE – It used to be that 29th Avenue and East Yesler Way was just another ordinary corner in the Leschi neighborhood.

In a split second last Halloween, it became a place of tragedy, of bad memories and pain.

Sunday afternoon, it was a place for coming together.

Several hundred people turned out for the dedication of a memorial to Seattle police Officer Timothy Brenton, who was shot in his police car, seemingly chosen at random.

For a week last year, neighbors said, mourners came by to pay their respects. Flowers piled up. TV trucks hummed round the clock, broadcasting the news as police searched for his killer.

Neighbors felt besieged.

Leschi is a diverse neighborhood of black and white, rich and poor, and sometimes relations with police are strained. Pained and fearful, many wrung their hands and wondered what can we possibly do?

A year out from the killing, they built much more than a memorial.

They dedicated the granite slab, which is inscribed with words that described Brenton, such as “friend” and “husband,” “devoted” and “loyal.”

Scores of police officers came to the event, along with Brenton’s widow, Lisa, and two children, Kayleigh and Quinn.

But plenty of ordinary folks who were touched by the tragedy attended, too. A boy in a Halloween costume stood alongside the family of another officer killed in the line of duty. A woman in her going-to-church hat stood alongside a burly South Park carpenter.

Strangers teared up as speakers took the podium.

None mentioned the man held in Brenton’s killing: Christopher Monfort, charged with aggravated murder and awaiting trial.

Toward the end of the ceremony, Jeff Floor took the podium. He is one of four neighbors who spearheaded the memorial effort.

“We’re lucky,” he said, “to be able to do something.”

As they raised money, drew up plans and leveled ground, they began to see this as much more than a monument to a fallen cop.

“It is good to spend a Saturday in the rain and the noise, shoveling dirt and hauling bricks with my filthy neighbors,” Floor said.

“To be able to look into your neighbor’s soul, without any armor in between, that is a true gift.”

He continued, his voice breaking, as he described what else he learned.

“I have brothers and sisters living all throughout my neighborhood,” he said. “I have brothers and sisters whose skin is a different color than mine. And perhaps most surprisingly, I have brothers and sisters who wear a uniform.”

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