Sergeant Sean Drenth Death Investigation: "Significant Evidence Someone Was at the Scene"

Categories: News
Sergeant Sean Drenth
The Phoenix Police Department held a press conference this afternoon to discuss the findings of the soon-to-be-released report on the investigation into the death of Sergeant Sean Drenth, who was found shot to death near the State Capitol last October.

The report, as Phoenix police officials explain, offers a lot of questions, but few answers as to who shot Drenth -- and it's still unclear whether his death was a suicide or murder.

One thing, however, seems clear: Drenth wasn't the only person at the scene in the 29-minute window from when he got there to when his body was discovered by a State Capitol Police officer.

Detectives were able to track Drenth's movements for the two hours prior to when his body was discovered via-a GPS device in his squad car. According to Lieutenant Joe Knott, head of the P.P.D.'s homicide unit, Drenth was doing routine patrol in the areas between 7th Avenue to the I-17, and Buckeye Road and Jefferson Street during the two hours before his death.

About 10:26 p.m., Drenth's vehicle pulled into a parking lot near railroad tracks across from the state capitol. The spot is popular amongst cops who often park there to do paperwork. Drenth activated a computer device in his cruiser that indicates when he's stopped someone, which suggests he'd encountered someone near the parking lot.

About 30 minutes later, his body was discovered next to the open passenger door of his squad car with a shotgun wound under his chin and his shotgun resting on his chest as he lay on his back.

"The biggest question is the position of the shotgun," Knott says. He notes, it's very possible someone staged the crime scene and placed the shotgun on Drenth's dead body, so finding the gun on his chest isn't the smoking gun (pardon the pun) that he killed himself.

Adding to the mystery is that Drenth's service weapon was found on the other side of a fence on the west side of the parking lot where his body was found. Another of Drenth's weapons was found next to his body. One bullet had been fired in the direction of where the other gun was found.

If Drenth killed himself, it seems he made the scene as confusing as possible for investigators -- unless someone found his body in the 29 minutes between when he got to the parking lot and when his body was discovered and moved evidence around; a scenario police aren't ruling out.

"We have significant evidence to suggest someone was at the scene," Knott says. Finding out who that person was is the problem investigators continue to face.

Based on police interviews with friends and family, it doesn't seem as though Drenth was the kind of guy who wanted to kill himself.

"Absolutely nobody thinks Sean Drenth would have killed himself for any reason," Knott says of those close to the dead sergeant.

In his own opinion of whether Drenth was murdered or committed suicide, Knott doesn't know what to think.

"I started at 50/50 [in terms of whether it was murder or suicide]," he says. "Throughout the investigation, that's shifted in both's extremely frustrating."

Knott says we may never know exactly what happened to Drenth, but the case remains open and the department will continue to investigate.

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More than a month after more than two dozen Phoenix cops were ordered to turn their DNA over to investigators so it could be compared to DNA recovered at the scene of the death ofSergeant Sean Drenth, there are still no definitive answers -- and none are ... There has been speculation that Drenth's death was somehow tied to the investigation that led up to the indictment of the four officers -- and what would have likely been an indictment of his own


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Tommy Collins
Tommy Collins

In my twenty years of municipal law enforcement I saw a lot of suicide by gun cases. I NEVER saw one where the gun ended up anywhere near the body, especially one such as a shotgun with the recoil power of a 12 gauge. It would be VERY odd to have a shotgun land on the chest of the deceased.

Too many questions...


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There is strong motivation for a cop bent on suicide to make it look like a murder. Substantial death benefits for his survivors.

Drenth was the subject of a serious investigation, possibly criminal charges. His pension was at risk, his career was at risk.

The police haven't released any evidence that someone else was at the scene.

In his muddled mind he probably thought he was creating some doubt by placing one of his guns on the other side of a fence and firing a shot in that direction. But think about it, if someone else had that gun it supposes that other person took it from Drenth, made it to the other side of the fence and then dropped it there when Drench fired ONE shot that direction. But then came BACK to where Drenth was and without a struggle not only disarmed him but took his shotgun and placed it under Drenth's chin and pulled the trigger. That doesn't make a lick of sense.

What does make sense is a confused, frantic man worried about his career and family decides to end it, walks over to a fence, tosses one gun over the fence, walks back to his car, shots one shot towards where he placed the gun, drops the gun, lays down, places the shotgun barrel under his chin and pulls the trigger.

Occams Razor, ignored by birthers and truthers and the Phoenix PD.


Tommy is exactly right about the placement of the gun, and how that rules out a suicide. Looks to me that one of the other corrupted officer(s) working along side him was worried he was going to compromise some kind of damaging information.The other part of this story is everyone on the scene after discovering Drenth's dead body has been accounted for, except for one! To me the fact that law officers know better than to compromise a murder scene's evidence by allowing so many unneeded people on the scene is another excellent reason to believe that the Phoenix Police Department has some serious issues with corruption. Trying to prevent leaks within a corrupted agency probably never goes as smoothly as those trying to cover up their misuse of power, would like. Here is another botched attempt!


Are you suggesting that Drenth staged the scene of the crime (if you can call it that), and committed suicide?

Or are you suggesting that Drenth hired someone to stage the scene and off him to make it seem it he was in a life-or-death battle with his "attacker"?

Neither makes sense. This guy had a family. Offing himself would only destroy his family. Someone else offing him would also destroy his family, but a wrongful death claim could be filed by his wife.

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