Topics

Bomb attempt at MLK march

Summary

FBI agents cross the bridge on 12 Mile Road during their investigation of Kevin Harpham on March 9, 2011, near Addy, Wash.

A backpack, containing a bomb capable of “multiple casualties,” was discovered Jan. 17, 2011, in downtown Spokane.

Public facilities district workers reported the package at 9:26 a.m., just before the annual Martin Luther King Jr. Unity March was set to begin. Investigators received numerous photos and video taken that day of the area around Washington Street and Main Avenue.

The FBI confirmed the next day that the Swiss Army-brand backpack contained a bomb that could have caused “multiple casualties” and credited Spokane city employees who noticed the suspicious bag and alerted authorities in time to re-route the parade. Chemicals were mixed with shrapnel in what law enforcement officials say was a weapon designed to inflict maximum injuries.

Federal agents arrested Kevin W. Harpham, an ex-soldier with ties to the white supremacist movement, on Wednesday, March 9.

A federal grand jury returned an indictment against Harpham on March 22, 2011, officially charging him with placing the bomb. Harpham, 36, was charged with attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction and possession of an unregistered explosive device. He initially pleaded not guilty.

In a plea deal made Sept. 7, 2011, he pleaded guilty to attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction and attempting to cause bodily injury with an explosive device with a racist motive.

Three Spokane police sergeants were honored for their efforts to quickly divert thousands of marchers to a new route and for their other work that day. Officials lauded Jason Hartman, Chuck Reisenauer and Eric Olsen as heroes for their work and gave them a standing ovation at a City Council meeting Jan. 24.

After an unsuccessful attempt by Harpham to withdraw his guilty plea, U.S. District Court Judge Justin Quackenbush sentenced Harpham to 32 years in prison on Dec. 19, 2011.

Key people

  • Kevin Harpham

    Kevin William Harpham is a 36-year-old ex-soldier with no major criminal record but ties to the white supremacist movement. He had been living in a home he built on 10 acres of land on a Stevens County hillside south of Colville. The Southern Poverty Law Center, a nonprofit civil rights organization, said Harpham in 2004 was a member of the National Alliance. The group was founded by the late William Pierce, whose novel “The Turner Diaries” was believed to be the blueprint behind the 1995 bombing in Oklahoma City by Timothy McVeigh.

Key places

  • Auntie’s Bookstore

    Across the street from the bench where the bomb was placed is Auntie’s Bookstore, in the Liberty Building.

Latest updates in this topic


  • Father of bomb plot suspect calls arrest a setup

    The father of domestic terrorism suspect Kevin W. Harpham said he believes his son was set up by someone wanting to pocket the big reward posted by the FBI. “They …


  • Dad of bomb suspect thinks son was set up

    The father of domestic terrorism suspect Kevin W. Harpham said he believes his son was set up by someone wanting to pocket the big reward posted by the FBI.


  • Rally to feature NAACP leader

    The head of the nation’s largest civil rights organization will lead a march in Spokane on Sunday to commemorate the 43rd anniversary of the assassination of the Rev. Martin Luther …


  • Suspected would-be bomber pleads not guilty

    Kevin W. Harpham pleaded not guilty Wednesday to charges that he left a bomb that investigators say could have caused multiple casualties along the planned route of a Unity March …


  • Grand jury indicts Harpham

    A federal grand jury on Tuesday indicted Kevin W. Harpham on charges stemming from the placement of a bomb along the route of the Unity March on Martin Luther King, …


  • Grand jury indicts Harpham in MLK bomb case

    A federal grand jury today returned an indictment against Kevin W. Harpham, officially charging him with placing the bomb along the planned route of the Unity March on Martin Luther …


  • Grand jury is expected to hear case against MLK bomb suspect today

    Federal investigators will present their case against Kevin W. Harpham today to a grand jury in the hopes of obtaining an indictment that will formally charge the Colville man with …


  • FBI report details bomb’s makeup

    A “joint intelligence bulletin” issued the day federal agents raided the Colville home of Kevin W. Harpham confirms that the bomb planted along the planned route of Spokane’s annual Martin …


  • New details emerge on MLK bomb

    A “Joint Intelligence Bulletin” issued on the day federal agents raided the Colville home of Kevin W. Harpham suggests that the bomb may have included a rocket motor igniter and …


  • Father of bomb suspect says son couldn’t have planted device

    The father of the man arrested in connection with a bomb discovered at Spokane’s Martin Luther King Jr. Day march claims his son was caring for him throughout January and …


  • Postings reveal bomb suspect’s views

    He grew up in rural Eastern Washington, played football in high school and worked at a fast-food restaurant as a teen. Childhood friends remember him as quiet and normal – …


  • Bomb suspect may have fantasized about race wars

    Investigators believe the man charged with planting a bomb on the route of the Martin Luther King Jr. march in Spokane posted more than a thousand entries talking about a …


  • White supremacist arrested in MLK bomb plot

    Kevin William Harpham bought 10 acres of land on a Stevens County hillside south of Colville and built a home a neighbor said he’d long planned. On Wednesday, dozens of …


  • Suspect in MLK bomb tied to racist movement

    Federal agents today arrested an ex-soldier with ties to the white supremacist movement and charged him with planting the backpack bomb along the planned route of the Martin Luther King …


  • Photo: Hearts, not hate

    Message received: Phil Smith, 59, of Spokane, holds a Valentine’s Day card he picked up from the bench at the corner of Main Avenue and Washington Street on Monday. An …


  • Jesse Jackson: MLK bomb planter ‘more sick than mean’

    Whoever left a backpack bomb on the route of Spokane’s Martin Luther King Jr. Day march last month “was more sick than mean,” the Rev. Jesse Jackson said Monday. “We …


  • Governor, at Spokane City Hall, briefed on bomb investigation

    After meeting with investigators and city leaders Friday at Spokane City Hall, Gov. Chris Gregoire commended the three contract workers who spotted the lethal backpack bomb along the Martin Luther …


  • Gregoire comes to Spokane for bomb briefing

    After meeting with investigators and city leaders Friday at Spokane City Hall, Gov. Chris Gregoire commended the three contract workers who spotted the lethal backpack bomb along the Martin Luther …


  • Sheriff critical; S-R stands behind story

    Spokane County Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich confirmed Wednesday for the second time in two days that chemicals were mixed with shrapnel in a bomb that was placed along the Unity March …


  • Editors stand by S-R bomb story

    Spokane County Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich confirmed Wednesday for the second time in two days that chemicals were mixed with shrapnel in a bomb that was placed along the Unity March …


  • King Day bomb had chemical component

    A bomb maker mixed chemicals with shrapnel in what law enforcement officials say was a weapon designed to inflict maximum injuries during last week’s Martin Luther King Jr. march in …


  • MLK bomb laced with chemical, sources say

    A bomb maker mixed chemicals with shrapnel in what law enforcement officials say was a weapon designed to inflict maximum injuries during last week’s Martin Luther King Jr. march in …


  • Policemen honored for response to bomb scare

    The search to find the person who left a “lethal” bomb along the planned route of the Martin Luther King Jr. march has entered its second week without federal authorities …


  • Move on without fear, region’s leaders urge

    While political and religious leaders interviewed last week denounced the bombing attempt along the route of Spokane’s annual march honoring Martin Luther King Jr., they shared a range of opinions …


  • Aryan Nations denies role in downtown bomb placement

    A leader of the Aryan Nations on Saturday issued a statement denying involvement with a bomb left at Spokane’s Martin Luther King Jr. Unity March on Monday. Morris Gullett, a …


  • Human rights dialogue revs up

    After racist literature was distributed throughout the region in 2009, a North Idaho anti-racism group mobilized leaders in Kootenai and Spokane counties to send a message at a news conference …


  • Agents gaining ‘clarity’ on Spokane bomb

    Federal investigators indicated Friday that they have made progress in their efforts to identify the person or persons who left a bomb Monday along the route of the planned Martin …


  • FBI says it has ‘clarity’ in MLK bomb case

    Federal investigators indicated today that they have made progress in their efforts to identify the person or persons who left a bomb Monday along the route of the planned Martin …


  • Town hall meeting will address concerns

    Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich and state Rep. Kevin Parker will hold a town hall meeting Saturday to discuss public concerns over the bomb found along the planned route for the Martin …


  • Downtown bomb linked to hate crimes

    The hunt for the person who left the bomb targeting marchers in Monday’s Martin Luther King Jr. parade will focus on two aspects: forensics and the region’s violent history with …


  • Bomb capable of lethal impact

    Lindsey Reiswig and her co-workers got the first indication something wasn’t right Monday morning when a Spokane police officer came by Auntie’s Bookstore and said they needed to clear the …


  • FBI: Bomb could have caused ‘multiple casualties’

    The abandoned backpack found Monday along the route of Spokane’s annual Martin Luther King Jr. march contained a bomb capable of inflicting “multiple casualties,” the FBI has confirmed.

 

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