Seattle Police report a homeless man carrying a rifle inside a guitar case on the Seattle Central College campus in Capitol Hill was arrested Wednesday.
According to police, a witness acquainted with the 34-year-old suspect, Michael J. Harris, contacted campus security around 4 p.m. Dec. 7 after seeing the man walking around Seattle Central with a guitar case he knew to contain an assault rifle, according to a Seattle Police report. The man told campus public safety officer Adrian Burrage he knows Harris from the homeless encampment at Rainier Avenue South and the Interstate 90 overpass, and that Harris had showed him the assault rifle two weeks prior. When he saw Harris on campus, he said Harris told him he couldn’t leave the case in his tent, according to the police report.
Burrage contacted the Seattle Police Department, but responding officers were unable to locate Harris, the report states. The same witness saw Harris in the college’s cafeteria an hour later and contacted Burrage again.
The security guard contacted Harris and asked him if the guitar case contained an assault weapon. Harris allegedly grabbed the case, but was detained by Burrage and fellow security officer Joel Workinger and placed in handcuffs. Burrage called the SPD again, and the serial number for the assault rifle was checked and determined to have been stolen.
Harris was booked into King County Jail for possessing a dangerous weapon in a school facility, possession of stolen property, investigation of a stolen firearm, unlawful possession of a firearm and a second-degree theft charge out of Kitsap County.
Police report the man had been enrolled at Seattle Central earlier this year, but it’s unclear why he was on campus Wednesday night.
“He’s not a current student,” said Seattle Central director of communications David Sandler, “I don’t know why he’s no longer a student.”
A letter from Seattle Central president Sheila Edwards-Lange to students states the former student was cited for trespassing during his arrest.
“We are extremely fortunate that no one was harmed and that at no time was anyone on our campus directly threatened,” Edwards-Lange writes. “This incident had a positive outcome because someone on campus was vigilant and reported their concern to our Public Safety office.”
Sandler said an emergency alert was not issued during the incident and the campus was not locked down during the search for the suspect.
Harris has not been formally charged, according to the King County Prosecutor’s Office, and waived his first appearance at the King County Jail on Thursday. His bail was set at $100,000. Harris’ second appearance is set for Monday, Dec. 12.