Charges: Bomb scare caused chaos at Everett girls basketball game

The suspect, 43, has a history of violent threats. Sexual frustration was behind the latest allegations, he reported.

Logo for news use featuring the municipality of Everett in Snohomish County, Washington. 220118

EVERETT — A self-described “incel” — an involuntarily celibate person — has been charged with three felonies in connection with threats to shoot and bomb an Everett girls basketball game last month.

Michael Harsh has a history of similar threats, including at a local blood donation center and a state ferry.

On Feb. 17, the day after his 43rd birthday, Harsh arrived at the Evergreen Middle School gym on his bike, according to new charges filed in Snohomish County Superior Court. It was the third quarter of the seventh-grade girls basketball game against Voyager Middle School.

The Everett man reportedly walked to the main entrance, where a few kids were standing. They backed away when they saw what appeared to be a black semiautomatic handgun in his hand, according to court papers.

A few minutes later, Harsh entered the gym wearing a backpack. He walked to the middle of the gym, yelling and holding the gun, according to the charges. Evergreen’s vice principal followed Harsh onto the court, putting himself between the suspect and the other people in the gym.

The 43-year-old man then reportedly threw off his backpack and started walking toward a bench full of children. Parents and school staff ran to tackle him, but he fended them off. He tried to punch anyone who got too close, according to court documents. All the while, he screamed obscenities, insults and what the charges describe as “Christian rhetoric.”

The vice principal and others were finally able to tackle the suspect. In the struggle, the gun was knocked loose and taken to the gym office. As they held him down, Harsh said he was going to kill them, according to prosecutors. And he looked directly at the vice principal and reportedly said he would kill the administrator.

Harsh also claimed he had a bomb, according to court papers. He said he had a dead man’s switch to detonate the bomb, screaming multiple times he’d kill the people in the gym.

When police arrived, they found people scrambling out of the gym.

“It was chaos as the gymnasium dispersed,” deputy prosecutor Martha Saracino wrote in the charging papers.

After police took over from the civilians holding Harsh down, the suspect said he wanted police to kill him, according to court documents. He also reportedly asked an officer to let him kill another one of the officers on scene. He also asked a female officer if a woman would touch a man like him.

“That’s what this is about,” Harsh reportedly said.

While being taken to the Snohomish County Jail, the Everett man called himself an “incel,” which is slang for an involuntarily celibate person, usually a man, harboring extreme resentment, according to the charges. He reported he hadn’t had sexual contact in 20 years.

At the jail, a nurse asked his name and Harsh reportedly responded, “If no one will touch you, you’re not worthy of a name.”

Police later determined the gun was an air pistol, not a real firearm. There was also no bomb or ignition device on him. But the vice principal told investigators he didn’t know that. He was in fear for his life while confronting the suspect.

Harsh also told the jail nurse he went to the school thinking about a past incident. He reportedly called it “stupid.”

A week after the incident, a judge approved a one-year extreme-risk protection order against Harsh, according to court records. This bars him from accessing guns because of danger to the community.

At the school, counselors were made available for students processing what happened, Everett Public Schools spokesperson Kathy Reeves said in an email. There was also an Everett police officer on scene at home games after the incident.

Prosecutors charged Harsh with two counts of felony harassment, one count of threats to bomb and one count of unlawful display of a weapon, a misdemeanor.

In 2008, Harsh was sentenced to less than two months in jail for threatening to kill employees at an Evergreen Way blood donation site for not letting him give plasma, according to court records. He reported he had three handguns and threatened someone with a Taser. He also threatened to kill police officers. That appears to be his only prior felony conviction.

Four years later, the man was accused of making a bomb threat on a ferry ride from Clinton to Mukilteo, according to a news report at the time.

The suspect was in the Snohomish County Jail this week in lieu of $250,000 bail.

Jake Goldstein-Street: 425-339-3439; jake.goldstein-street@heraldnet.com. Twitter: @GoldsteinStreet.

Help is available

There are free and confidential resources for people in crisis or who know someone in crisis.

If there is an immediate danger, call 911.

Care Crisis Chat: imhurting.org (chat); 800-584-3578 (call).

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 800-273-8255, suicidepreventionlifeline.org.

The Trevor Project Lifeline for LGBTQ Youth: thetrevorproject.org, 866-488-7386.

Mental Health First Aid courses: mentalhealthfirstaid.org.

Compass Health’s Mobile Crisis Outreach Team may be contacted at anytime by calling the Volunteers of America crisis line: 1-800-584-3578.

The Snohomish Health District has a list of other local resources. snohd.org/200/Suicide-Prevention.

Talk to us

More in Local News

The Everett Police Department was investigating a woman's death Sunday morning after a driver hit and killed her on Broadway in north Everett. (Everett Police Department)
Woman killed by suspected impaired driver in Everett

A driver reportedly hit the person, which prompted the closure of Broadway between 17th and 19th streets Sunday morning.

Everett
Everett library, fire department will have social workers on call

Many 911 calls don’t require police or fire responses. City leaders want to ensure frequent callers get the help they need.

French fries and a fried chicken sandwich are shown at a Chick-fil-A restaurant in New York in 2015. MUST CREDIT: Bloomberg photo by Michael Nagle
New Chick-fil-A restaurant coming to Everett?

An Everett Mall Way location would be the restaurant chain’s fourth Snohomish County store.

Everett
Charges: North Everett murder suspect caught on camera

Jeremiah Stringfellow, 27, is being held on first-degree murder charges for the fatal shooting of Naej Belledent, 22.

x
Meadowdale teen claims race kept her off varsity basketball team

The 15-year-old sophomore alleges that, consciously or not, a new girls basketball head coach limited players of color.

Everett resident Shon Grimes receives a flu shot from pharmacist Nisha Mathew at Bartell Drugs on Broadway on Saturday, Oct. 1, 2022, in Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Already, worst flu season in years has claimed 3 in Snohomish County

Statewide, 13 people have died, including two children, from the flu this season.

Scout Skyler MacKay, 14, sits amongst only a small number of the over 600 toys he has collected for local children in foster care as part of his Eagle Scout project Thursday, Nov. 17, 2022, at his family’s home in Lynnwood, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Teen Santa: Scout brings toys and joy to foster kids, like he was

Skyler MacKay, 14, of Lynnwood is collecting 1,000 toys for his Eagle Scout project. Toys will be given year-round.

This screenshot shows the Snohomish County Sheriff's Office's new crime dashboard released to the public last week. It tracks crime trends over the last few years.
Sheriff’s new database gives window into Snohomish County crime rates

Homicides are up compared to 2021. Some other violent crimes and property crimes are down, data released last week shows.

Commander Rob Lamoureux speaks about his experience working on Jennifer Brinkman homicide case on Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2022 in Marysville, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Suspect in 1998 Marysville homicide cold case released on $250K bond

Four days after his arrest, Jeffrey Premo, 52, was no longer in custody. He remains a suspect in the killing of Jennifer Brinkman, 19.

Most Read