LYNNWOOD — Police arrested a man armed with a butcher knife for investigation of a hate crime, after he harassed two African American employees of a Walmart in Lynnwood, according to police reports filed in court Friday.
Officers held their fire when the homeless man, 24, who is white, shouted at police that they should shoot him early Thursday, according to the Lynnwood Police Department.
Two Walmart worker showed up to their job around 4 a.m. in the 17200 block of Highway 99. They heard yelling coming from a covered shopping cart vestibule. As they walked closer, they saw a man pacing with what appeared to be a large kitchen knife, court papers say. He said something like, “What’s up, KKK,” among other comments about the Ku Klux Klan that one of the workers perceived as a threat. At least one other employee reported the man had spewed vulgar insults at her, too. He was screaming something indecipherable, when a Lynnwood police officer arrived and saw him holding a sleeping bag.
At a distance of about 20 feet, the officer shouted, “Police! Show me your hands!” The officer wrote that he knew the man, and that in the past he’d “spoken with his mother regarding his drug use and violent behavior.”
The man reportedly cursed at the officer and refused to drop the sleeping bag. The officer drew his gun, and the man took about six steps toward him, he wrote.
“You have a gun?” the man reportedly said. “You are going to shoot me? Shoot me! Shoot me! Shoot me (expletive)!”
The man dropped the bag, and the officer saw he was no longer holding a knife. He grabbed the man by the arm, tripped him and detained him on the ground, while the man shouted strange statements about “the church, the federal government and police being out to get him,” the officer’s report says. Another officer arrived as backup.
Inside the man’s backpack, officers found a knife hidden in wads of paper. The total length of the knife was 13½ inches, counting the handle. Both employees reported that was the same weapon the man had been holding.
In the man’s pocket, police found a plastic tube and a glass pipe, according to the police report. Both items had burn marks and brown residue.
The man was booked into the Snohomish County Jail for investigation of obstructing law enforcement, possession of drug paraphernalia and malicious harassment, a felony charge that is defined by the state’s hate crime law.
About a month ago police responded to a report about the same man, because he was yelling bizarre nonsense phrases in public, and at the time, he had a hatchet and a knife in his backpack, according to Lynnwood police.
In March 2018, he tried to shoplift three bottles of alcohol from a Safeway on Highway 99, north of the city. He cussed at an employee and pulled out a hatchet, charging papers say. Snohomish County sheriff’s deputies found him hiding inside a dumpster enclosure. He threatened to chop up the deputies and smashed his head on the interior of the patrol car.
Court records show in a mental health examination, he told a forensic psychologist he’d been on the streets off and on since his early teens, that he began drinking at 14, and that he had a habit of getting blackout drunk every other week. He’d been hit in the head with a baseball bat as a child, shattering his face, he reported. At the time of that report in April 2018, he reported he may be bipolar, and that he’d stopped taking his medications because a lump developed in his chest.
In the 2018 case, he was eventually found competent to stand trial. Instead he pleaded guilty to second-degree assault.
He served a three-month jail sentence, plus probation. Just this week, on Tuesday morning, the Snohomish County Superior Court Clerk’s Office stamped a notice that his supervision by the Department of Corrections had ended.
Caleb Hutton: 425-339-3454; firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter: @snocaleb.