October 31, 2009, was a Halloween that Leschi won’t forget. Officer Timothy Brenton had just cited a driver in a traffic stop and was showing his trainee, Britt Sweeney, how to complete the paperwork when he was shot and killed. This occurred on 29th and Yesler and a group of residents quickly formed to plan a memorial for the officer. Donations poured in from around the city.
The planning committee designed a plaque resembling an officer’s badge and a landscape architect designed the planting area. The plaque was the most expensive of the ideas, but the company hired to make it refused any payment. Thus, Leschi has been left with a sizable amount to pay for the rent on the area and any upkeep and replacement of plants.
These funds are visible in the financial report as one of the restricted funds. These funds may only be used to keep up the memorial. The Certificate of Deposit at the end of the financial report consists of Brenton funds as well and may only be used for such.
Unfortunately, members of the original planning committee gradually moved away from the neighborhood, and we needed a new caretaker. Leschi resident Bill Caldwell offered to take on this task and has been weeding and watering. He was met with some bad news recently: someone cut down the tree that had been valiantly surviving in this rather difficult spot with no water immediately available. This needs to be replaced and we hope that repeating the story of how this memorial came about will create more awareness among more recent residents and reduce the likelihood of something like this happening in the future.
Bill discovered that someone from the police dept. had recently weeded the area and learned that it was Officer Britt Sweeney, the young woman who had been with Officer Brenton that evening. She was injured in the original attack but recovered. Officer Sweeney is now a member of the teaching staff at the Police Academy and her hope is that a similar plaque can be arranged for each officer killed in the line of duty.
We think it is a good time to hold a remembrance ceremony at the site this coming Halloween and will ask the police to participate. For those new to this incident, the shooter was arrested, tried, convicted and sentenced to prison where he later died.