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; 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: (chat); 800-584-3578 (call).

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 800-273-8255,

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

Mental Health First Aid courses:

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.

Talk to us

More in Local News

Marysville firefighters respond to a 12-year-old boy who fell down a well Tuesday May 30, 2023 in Marysville, Washington. (Photo provided by Marysville Fire District)
Marysville firefighters save boy who fell 20 feet into well

The 12-year-old child held himself up by grabbing on to a plastic pipe while firefighters worked to save him.

Highway 9 is set to be closed in both directions for a week as construction crews build a roundabout at the intersection with Vernon Road. (Washington State Department of Transportation)
Weeklong closure coming to Highway 9 section in Lake Stevens

Travelers should expect delays or find another way from Friday to Thursday between Highway 204 and Lundeen Parkway.

Students arriving off the bus get in line to score some waffles during a free pancake and waffle breakfast at Lowell Elementary School on Friday, May 26, 2023, in Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
800 free pancakes at Everett’s Lowell Elementary feed the masses

The annual breakfast was started to connect the community and the school, as well as to get people to interact.

Marysville Mayor Jon Nehring speaks at the groundbreaking event for the I-5/SR 529 Interchange project on Tuesday, May 23, 2023 in Marysville, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
$123M project starting on Highway 529 interchange, I-5 HOV lane

A reader wondered why the highway had a lane closure despite not seeing work done. Crews were waiting on the weather.

Justin Bell was convicted earlier this month of first-degree assault for a December 2017 shooting outside a Value Village in Everett. (Caleb Hutton / Herald file)
Court: Snohomish County jurors’ opaque masks didn’t taint verdict

During the pandemic, Justin Bell, 32, went on trial for a shooting. Bell claims his right to an impartial jury was violated.

Gary Fontes uprights a tree that fell over in front of The Fontes Manor — a miniature handmade bed and breakfast — on Friday, May 12, 2023, at his home near Silver Lake in Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Everett’s mini-Frank Lloyd Wright builds neighborhood of extra tiny homes

A tiny lighthouse, a spooky mansion and more: Gary Fontes’ miniature world of architectural wonders is one-twelfth the size of real life.

Will Steffener
Inslee appoints Steffener as Superior Court judge

Attorney Will Steffener will replace Snohomish County Superior Court Judge Janice Ellis, who is retiring in June.

Mountlake Terrace Library, part of the Sno-Isle Libraries, in Mountlake Terrace, Washington on Thursday, June 1, 2023. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
Sno-Isle workers cite safety, unfilled positions in union push

Workers also pointed to inconsistent policies and a lack of a say in decision-making. Leadership says they’ve been listening.

A view over the Port of Everett Marina looking toward the southern Whidbey Island fault zone in March 2021. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Snohomish County agencies to simulate major disaster

The scenario will practice the response to an earthquake or tsunami. Dozens of agencies will work with pilots.

Most Read