Sergeant Sean Drenth's Name Left Off City Memorial -- Much to Mayor Phil Gordon's Dismay

At a ceremony at Phoenix City Hall this afternoon, city officials honored more than 70 municipal employees who died over the last year. Phoenix police Sergeant Sean Drenth was not on the list.

Drenth's body was found shot to death near the State Capitol -- next to his police cruiser -- on October 18 of last year. He was on-duty at the time, but was out of contact with his precinct for about 45 minutes before the shooting.

The Phoenix P.D. has been fairly tight-lipped about the investigation, and the medical examiner hasn't said whether it was a murder or a suicide, which is why Drenth's name was left off the memorial.

"The problem with this particular case is trying to figure out if this was a suicide or was it a homicide. That is really what we are holding off on because we don't put officers names on the memorial who have taken their own lives," Phoenix police Chief Jack Harris says.

Drenth, Harris confirmed last November, was also on the list of officers involved in a time-theft scheme (which you can read all about by clicking here) and probably would have been indicted, as well as three other officers believed to be involved in the scheme, if he were still alive.

There has been speculation that Drenth's death was somehow tied to the investigation that led up to the indictment of the other officers -- and what would have likely been an indictment of his own.

Fueling the speculation is the fact that Harris announced last year that Drenth knew he, and the other officers, were being investigated. However, Harris also said he knew of no connection between the investigation and Drenth's death.

Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon mentioned Drenth in his address to those gathered for the ceremony, noting that Drenth was "a Phoenix police officer who was in uniform and on-duty when he died. While the investigation of his death goes on, in my opinion it is immaterial as to his rightful place on the memorial, as he died a Phoenix police officer in uniform, serving our city up to his final moments."

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James King
Contact: James King