Everett man gets 9 months for middle school bomb scare

Michael Harsh, a self-described “incel,” threatened to bomb and shoot a girls basketball game at Evergreen Middle School.

Everett

EVERETT — An Everett man who threatened to shoot and bomb a girls basketball game earlier this year was sentenced Wednesday to nine months in jail.

Snohomish County Superior Court Judge Jon Scott also sentenced Michael Harsh to 12 months of probation.

In March, Snohomish County prosecutors charged Harsh, a self-described involuntarily celibate person, or “incel,” with three felonies and a misdemeanor in connection with the threats at the Evergreen Middle School gym.

After he was charged, a doctor found Harsh, who has lived with mental health issues since he was a teenager, lacked the capacity to assist in his defense, according to court records. A judge ordered 45 days of competency restoration treatment. After that, Superior Court Judge Cindy Larsen found he was competent to stand trial.

Earlier this month, the defendant pleaded guilty to one count each of threats to bomb and harassment, both felonies. Prosecutors dropped the other two charges.

Under state sentencing guidelines, Harsh faced six months to a year. Prosecutors pushed for the high end of that range. The defense asked for the defendant to be sentenced to time served, noting he has been in custody since his arrest in February.

Scott sentenced Harsh to nine months, in the middle of the two recommendations.

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

A few minutes later, Harsh entered the gym wearing a backpack. He walked to the middle of the gym, yelling and holding a gun, according to the charges.

The 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 described as “Christian rhetoric.”

The vice principal and others were finally able to tackle the suspect. In the struggle, the gun — later found to be an air pistol, not a real firearm — was knocked loose. 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. Police later determined there was 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.

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

After officers arrested him, Harsh called himself an “incel,” which is usually a man, harboring extreme resentment toward women, according to the charges.

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

The defendant has a history of violent threats.

In 2008, he 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.

Harsh said in court Wednesday he was “deeply sorry” for his actions in February. Judge Scott ordered he stay off the grounds of Evergreen Middle School and resume mental health treatment while on probation.

His public defender, Rachel Ryon, told the judge ”this is not going to be a situation that happens again.”

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

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