Accused sword-wielding man has history of mental illness

EDMONDS — A Lynnwood man who was arrested after reportedly bringing a sword into an Edmonds Starbucks on Sunday has a history of mental illness, according to court papers.

His family told police that the man, 30, has bipolar disorder and was not taking his medication.

He was arrested for investigation of first-degree burglary and attempting to elude police after the incident.

The man reportedly had been making unwelcome advances toward one of the employees at the coffee shop at 220th Street SW and Highway 99, Edmonds police Sgt. Mark Marsh said.

He went to talk to the woman, 22, in an employee-only area in the back of the business. He told her he wanted to study with her, court papers said. He left her a book, which contained his vehicle registration.

Both had been enrolled in the same community college class. The suspect found where the woman worked and frequently showed up there and began leaving her gifts, Marsh said.

On Sunday, the store manager told the man to leave.

The suspect complied, then allegedly came back into the store wielding a medieval-style sword, Marsh said.

The sword was just over 3 feet long and had a 2-foot blade, Marsh said.

When the woman saw him return, she started yelling for help.

“During the confrontation the suspect did not apparently threaten anyone directly with the sword but did make an attempt to once again reach the female employee, before fleeing the scene in his car,” Marsh said.

Another employee intervened and “needed to get physical” to force him out of the room, court papers said.

Marsh said her co-workers “did a really good job of taking care of her.”

Police were called about 3:30 p.m. Sunday.

An officer attempted a traffic stop but the man drove off. A chase ensued, but the officer had to call off the pursuit for safety reasons. The driver was estimated to be driving more than 95 mph and reportedly ran red lights.

The suspect was found in his car near his home along 29th Avenue W. that evening. He refused to get out of the car.

Edmonds police broke out the rear window. The suspect then got out of the car and was taken into custody.

The man has a history of mental illness and arrests.

A 2003 theft case was dismissed when a psychologist found that the man’s illness was too pronounced to aid in his own defense. However, about the same time, the Lynnwood man pleaded guilty to fourth-degree assault, a gross misdemeanor, after twisting an Everett police officer’s fingers.

In that case, police were called to Forest Park where the man was reported naked. He ran into the children’s petting zoo and stripped off his clothes, court papers said.

At the time, he was diagnosed as having bipolar disorder and expressed the delusional belief that he was the “Antichrist,” court papers said.

Eric Stevick: 425-339-3446, stevick@heraldnet.com

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