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Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Stabbing Update: Volunteer Made Sierra Club Staff Uncomfortable

posted by on January 2 at 7:20 AM

Originally posted last night around 10:45pm.

A Sierra Club source told Erica tonight that there was a volunteer at the Sierra Club, where Shannon Harps workedó who appears to fit the description that the police are giving of the suspect in Harps’s murder.

This volunteer, Erica learned, made members uncomfortable, and “his picture was up at the office.” Erica’s source explains: “It was pretty clear, don’t leave this guy alone in here.”

This may have been related to the volunteer’s interest in Harps.

Erica’s source says the volunteer had asked Harps out on a date. Harps said, ‘No.’

“We don’t know if he continued to ask her out,” the Sierra Club source adds.

The volunteer reportedly stopped coming around during the Sierra Club’s No on Prop 1 campaign. (Prop 1 was the roads and transit measure.) So, members were surprised when the volunteer showed up at the Sierra Club’s election night victory party at Piecora’s on Capitol Hill when Prop 1 lost. “It was unusual,” Erica’s Sierra Club source says. “He was not a regular volunteer.”

The volunteer also showed up at the Sierra Club’s offices right before Christmas. “It seemed like something was motivating him,” the Club member says.

It’s impossible to know right now if this has any bearing on Harps’s murder, but it is jarring information.

RSS icon Comments

1

What have the police said about this? Or are we on the border of gossip?

Posted by Cato the Younger Younger | January 2, 2008 7:28 AM
2

um, josh, you already posted this yesterday.

Posted by ellarosa | January 2, 2008 7:49 AM
3

um, right ellarosa, which is why at the top of the post Josh wrote: "Originally posted last night around 10:45pm."

Posted by Sheik Yerbouty | January 2, 2008 8:02 AM
4

@1 Nope... the border of gossip has already been reached and crossed. Worst attributes of a high school or a small town, but applied here electronically on a grand scale, mostly with people that didn't know the victim.

As bystanders and uninvolved observers, there is some information that we do not need to know, and even perhaps should not know. It's great to find out, of course, that this may not have been a random attack made by someone living on the street, given that there would be some kind of misguided reaction against the homeless inevitably taken by idiot city officials. And any coverage that increases the attention on the dangers of stalkers is not a negative.

But posting hearsay? I'd say that you were all better than that, but I definitely know better.

This is just entertainment through rubbernecking. Pathetic. Fucking pathetic.

Posted by bma | January 2, 2008 8:03 AM
5

but why repost without an update?

Posted by ellarosa | January 2, 2008 8:12 AM
6

its certainly interesting info, and i dont know how i feel about it. on the one hand, im sure they (the sierra club) already shared this info with the police and therefore is no news to them, on the other through this post yall already made the weird volunteer a suspect. if it turns out he is the killer, yall broke a hell of a story, if it doesnt than yall fucked that dude over. i guess you can afford to be gossipy in a blog. who knows. but if they felt this uncomfortable.. why did management allow him to keep volunteering?

Posted by SeMe | January 2, 2008 8:42 AM
7

Very sad event, again. KF hope you're holding up.

All reporting is hearsay unless the reporter saw it himself. I think that the actual source person should be named but that someone in the office reported that the guy's picture is up on the wall, that he stopped showing up, and that he showed up election night is not hearsay. The reporting that the guy asked her out is hearsay if the source didn't witness it.

Hearsay- Information that was heard by one person about another

Posted by whatever | January 2, 2008 8:49 AM
8

@5,

Sorry for any confusion. I wanted to physically preserve the timeline on this story, while also getting this info straight into this morning's mix.

Posted by Josh Feit | January 2, 2008 8:59 AM
9

Josh, I appreciate the re-post; it's an ongoing story and important info like this shouldn't get buried.

Posted by Justy | January 2, 2008 9:15 AM
10

@9 is that you Josh?

Did you even think of sharing this info with the police first before you posted it TWICE?

The real papers obviously have the same details but they're not printing them, and maybe the police encouraged them not to so they could track this guy down.

In your haste to get "this info straight into this morning's mix" you might have published some crucial details that weren't meant for public consumption. You guys aren't journalists, you're vultures.

Posted by Sgt. Joe Friday | January 2, 2008 9:28 AM
11

uh, no, it's not fucking gossip. A volunteer where the victim worked matches the description of the killer and had a history of odd behaviour towards the victim. Those are statements by Shannon's co-workers and I appreciate them being on the Slog. I live a block and a half from 15th & Howell so ANY piece of information about this crime is welcome.

Time and time again, I turn to Slog for up to date info on local stuff that you can't find in the traditional media. Yes, there is a lot of silly shit on here, but there's also a lot of community reporting which I find refreshing and informative. Local, traditional media is so busy blabbing about "killer storm 2007" or "traffic nightmare on I-5" over and over again, that they don't seem to have time to report on things of real interest and importance.

And I'm really fucking pissed off by some of the flippant humor on these posts. Tasteless, rude and disrespectful. There's a time and place for funny comments, and the horrorifc death of a person is NOT one of them.

Grow up, asswipes.

and, long live SLOG.

Posted by michael strangeways | January 2, 2008 9:33 AM
12

I couldn't agree more, Michael, and I also sneer at the people here who think Josh knows stuff the police don't know and isn't supposed to be telling us. I know I'd like to see that picture.

Posted by Fnarf | January 2, 2008 10:09 AM
13

@5 ("but why repost without an update?")

So that he can get more comments, silly rabbit.

Posted by obvio | January 2, 2008 10:22 AM
14

Dear Sarge,
It's not The Stranger's job to give information to the police. Their job is to investigate and report.

And, who knows how many women this guy has stalked? He might have three or four women he routinely keeps tabs on. If this information helps save someone's life, then, that's a pretty good thing. At the very least, it'll put all women who've had uncomfortable situations like this at work, on guard and able to take some precautions in their life.

and dear dumbasses, the reason why it was reposted, is because it's an ONGOING NEWS STORY and needs to be near the top of the blog so people can find the latest information on the hottest story as quickly as possible.

jesus, fuck, people are dumb...

Posted by michael strangeways | January 2, 2008 10:34 AM
15

And the hits just keep on coming.

I'm actually curious because the description sounds like an obviously mentally ill homeless man who comes around Wallingford as well. I've seen him there, in the U District, and on Capitol Hill. The piercing eyes and the beard ring a bell. I hope it's not him, and I hope they nab him today. It's a horrible story. I used to live two blocks from there, on 13th, and buy milk at that 7-11 (the Korean market on 12th was closer but their milk was always turned).

Posted by Fnarf | January 2, 2008 10:35 AM
16

uh, no, it's not fucking gossip. A volunteer where the victim worked matches the description of the killer and had a history of odd behaviour towards the victim. Those are statements by Shannon's co-workers and I appreciate them being on the Slog. I live a block and a half from 15th & Howell so ANY piece of information about this crime is welcome.

Sure, it's great to know that there isn't an ongoing public safety issue in one's own neighborhood. That's not what I was objecting to.

I stand by my original statement. Those random readers that had no connection to the victim DON'T need a blow-by-blow description of what happened, unless there's some good reason to know. There's a strong difference between being well-informed about relevant issues in one's neighborhood, and being a voyeuristic gossip hound trying in vain to connect a serious tragedy to one's own pathetic life.

Posted by bma | January 2, 2008 10:49 AM
17
...there would be some kind of misguided reaction against the homeless inevitably taken by idiot city officials.

Why would that happen? A Madison Market employee was viciously attacked by two homeless men a few years ago. As far as I know, no one tried to use the attack as an excuse to crack down on the homeless. Instead, the perpetrators were tried and convicted, and will hopefully not see the light of day for a good long time.

...if it turns out he is the killer, yall broke a hell of a story, if it doesnt than yall fucked that dude over.

How would Slog have fucked the guy over? No one, except a few Sierra Club employees and the authorities (presumably), knows who this guy is.

Posted by keshmeshi | January 2, 2008 10:50 AM
18

I'm actually curious because the description sounds like an obviously mentally ill homeless man who comes around Wallingford as well. I've seen him there, in the U District, and on Capitol Hill. The piercing eyes and the beard ring a bell. I hope it's not him, and I hope they nab him today.

A game of Blame Your Favorite Homeless Person, eh? Get serious.

Posted by bma | January 2, 2008 10:50 AM
19

Sorry BMA, you're wrong. Information that a person known to the victim, with a history of odd and inappropriate behaviour towards the victim, is relevant information that needs to be reported. Frequently, people who have a history of stalking, have a history of stalking more than one person. That infomation could help save someone's life. If this person IS the killer, he might have several people he keeps tabs on and decide that since he's offed one, he might as well takeout everyone who's every rebuffed him. At the very least, this information will guarantee that people will take precautions when they encounter borderline people they may run across in their everday lives.

Knowledge IS power.

Posted by michael strangeways | January 2, 2008 10:59 AM
20

@17 Why would that happen?

I'm sorry... have you and I been living in the same city for the past several years? The tide is definitely turning against the homeless in Seattle, and while brief, unfounded allegations like this might not result in an upswelling of action overnight, the damage is done in the court of public opinion.

Posted by bma | January 2, 2008 11:02 AM
21

Knowledge IS power.

Don't have any disagreement from my side, pal. But there's a difference between knowledge and useless and intrusive factoids. Learning certain details about what happened, such that it doesn't happen to anyone else again? Sure, that's great.

But hearing that it might have been someone nonspecific, perhaps, as a result of rumour and guesswork? Getting all of the gruesome details? Explain to me how that's informing the public and providing you with the information that you need, and NOT voyeurism.

Posted by bma | January 2, 2008 11:08 AM
22

"gruesome details"?

what the fuck are you talking about? Is there a post on here I missed? I haven't seen anything on Slog that dealt with "gruesome details".

and once again, taling to people who knew and worked with Shannon, and knew and worked with a potential suspect, WHO FITS THE DESCRIPTION OF THE SUSPECT AND HAD A REPUTATION OF ODD BEHAVIOUR TOWARDS THE VICTIM, would not be "gossip", it's reportage.

I'll give you an example of gossip. I know someone who lives in the building and on their MySpace page they posted that someone in the building had told him, that someone who had previously stayed in the victim's apartment under the previous tenant, had a history of mental illness, but the police had checked out that person, and they had an alibi. I did not TALK to my friend; my sketchy information is about fourth hand information at best and unverified and unconfirmed. Now, if Josh went to talk to some of the people in that building who had actually lived there during the time this alleged mentally ill person had lived there and got the information first hand and verified it with the police, then that would be reportage.

Do you understand the difference now?

I hope so.

Posted by michael strangeways | January 2, 2008 11:33 AM
23

Dear All,

My cousin, Shannon Harps, is the woman that was murdered on New Year's Eve. My family is absolutely devastated that our beautiful, wonderful, kind Shannon was so senslessly and brutally attacked. She was kind, funny, passionate, intelligent, and would never hurt a fly. She wanted to make Seattle and the world a better place for everybody. That is what we want Seattle to know and remember...not this horrible murder.

Our family has been contacted today by several reporters from both Seattle and Columbus, OH and one of the reporters referred us to this blog (slog).

I am posting to kindly request that those who post keep in mind that Shannon's family and friends are probably visitng and reading this blog since reporters are calling and telling us about it. Before posting, please take a second to put yourself in our shoes and realize that this isn't just "some woman", she is our Shannon and we love her very, very much.

Thank you for your consideration. Our family wishes you all a happy, healty New Year...

:)Shelly

Posted by Shelly | January 2, 2008 11:45 AM
24

Re: response #14, dear Michael Strangeways, it's not The Stranger's job to investigate and report, it's their job to entertain and make money. That does include printing gossip, hearsay and occasional lies. Sensationalism sells baby. I'd really hate to see a volunteer get railroaded and harassed if in fact they had nothing to do with it... maybe it's better to wait until all the facts come out.

Posted by newsjunkie | January 2, 2008 11:51 AM
25

Some need to calm down and understand that communities talk about people, and repeat hearsay all the time, and the "line" of propriety people are talking about is very subjective. There just are not all these bright line "rules" calling for censorship and silence as some people think. Chill out.

I've seen no details of the blood or gore
(which would be inapprorpaite in my view).

I've seen no name published for the strange SC volunteer dude (and I would think it would be irresponsible to publish his name at this point).

Obviously the Sierra Club knows it, so lots of people ARE being respectful and not spreading too much dirt.


BTW hearsay IS admissible in court for many things anyway. and BTW every volunteer group/campaign draws weirdos, typically male, who lightly or barely stalk someone or actually heavily stalk someone.
Sierra Club seems to have handled this all very sensitively by making the concerned folks aware, not actually excluding the dude, but also talking about it to cops and reporters without giving out the guy's name.

Posted by unPC | January 2, 2008 11:59 AM
26

Dear Shelly, best to you and your family during what has to be a horrific time. Words are insufficient right now, but know that many of us are thinking of you.

Posted by Lulu | January 2, 2008 12:02 PM
27

Dear Slog Readers:

I believe now is the perfect time to say what needs to be said: I was wrong, and I apologize.

For the snarky message I left about Mr. Poe in the very first post about this terrible tragedy, and for a couple other ridiculous, self-referential posts. If you can forgive me, that would be nice, and I've already asked Shannon to forgive me in my prayers.

As for a few of my other posts, taking to task those who would prefer to dictate what is and is not said in the forum, I stand by the sentiment that we should be able to discuss what we wish to discuss, and self-censorship is a slippery slope. I also defend my right to call attention to the proximity of sex offenders and mentally ill individuals in the neighborhood without having to endure the flames of the self-righteous who claim I want to mount a witch hunt.

That said, again, if I do have anything to say about this matter, I will try to ensure it adds some thoughtful dialogue and isn't some attempt to out-cute the previous ironic hipster.

Thank you.

Posted by Jubilation T. Cornball | January 2, 2008 12:15 PM
28

let me guess, news junkie, you're one of those people who get their news from "real newspapers" like the Times and P.I. those fine bastions of journalism who don't entertain or like to make money...

yes, the Stranger is an entertainment based paper. Yes, it's full of ridiculous juvenile crap. Yes, Adrian Ryan is allowed to slog on here. It also reports "real" news stories and frequently scoops the "real newspapers" and frequently reports more in depth on local stories than the big media guys.

THIS is the new journalism people; get used to it, for better or for worse. The dinosaurs of print and tv journalism don't want to acknowledge it, but web based journalism IS the future. Yeah, you have to weed through a lot of crap, but there's still more information on Slog about breaking newstories than you'll find at the Times or P.I. or KING or KOMO.

Apparently, the fact the Seattle Times now carries the NY Times crossword puzzle on a daily basis, is more important to the Seattle Times than the tragic death of a local woman.

Posted by michael strangeways | January 2, 2008 12:24 PM
29

Must be a slow day at the Stranger office if staffers have time to post under fake names.

Posted by I P Freely | January 2, 2008 1:14 PM
30

Yeah, Michael Strangeways must work there. Who else would describe the slog as "journalism"?

Posted by Hu Phlung-Pu | January 2, 2008 1:24 PM
31

chuckle.

the truth is:

I'm Dan Savage's maid. After the whole "Terry grew a moustache!" debacle, Dan had to hire a maid to placate him.

I'm a very loyal employee.

Posted by michael strangeways | January 2, 2008 1:42 PM
32

This is the lead paragraph from Jennifer Sullivan's article currently on the Times webpage:

"Seattle police are interviewing co-workers of a Seattle woman found stabbed to death outside her Capitol Hill condominium building Monday night to determine whether her attacker may be associated with the Sierra Club, where she worked."

and from KING5:

"An internet posting mentions a man who was bothering Harps, and that perhaps Harps had turned out a date with the man, but none of that has been substantiated."

guess, it's "real" news now that "real" media has covered, or at least alluded to it....

Posted by michael strangeways | January 2, 2008 1:52 PM
33

"turned OUT a date"?

hmmm...I've turned DOWN dates, but I've never OUTED a date....maybe Michaelangelo Signorile or Perez Hilton is the killer?

night reportage, KING.

Posted by michael strangeways | January 2, 2008 1:57 PM
34

"Night" reportage yourself, there Michael Strangeways - I mean Josh.

Posted by Stephanie | January 2, 2008 2:26 PM
35

i meant to do that, stiffanie

Posted by michael strangeways | January 2, 2008 2:55 PM
36

Yes Michael, you state the obvious, the Internet is a rapid way to dispense news and will probably beat out print as the medium our news is dispensed through. Blogs do not equal online news though. The Stranger's blog is for entertainment. Sure, there is some news in their, but if you really follow bloglines, you'll find most of the news here isn't original at all. They just grab the stories from other blogs and news sources, often word for word, they aren't out doing hard research or spending a lot of time editing blog articles. Sometimes it's OK to wait a day to get all the facts before running a story. Sometimes it's OK to run an article through an editor and copy editor. Sometimes it's OK to credit the blog you copied an article from, or credit the photographer of the photo you nabbed off Flickr. Blogs are sloppy, use stolen material, have a lot of exaggeration and lies, along with the entertainment and quick news. They definitely are not a substitute for real news yet, especially this one. And the big fear if print dies is will online news sources really spend the money on reporters that do research, copy editors, editors to pitch ideas, etc. or just hire a bunch of mouthy kids that can't right to plagiarize other news sources.

Posted by newsfan | January 2, 2008 4:22 PM
37

@22 What building is this? Up until a year ago I lived right behind Madison Market in a building called the Cascadia. I'm just curious if Shannon lived there.

Posted by Callie | January 2, 2008 4:34 PM
38

gee Newsfan, I'd have to disagree with you.

Yes, there is a lot of fluff on Slog; yes, there is a lot of regurgitation from other sources. There's also a lot of first hand reported news as well.

If I had to hazard a guess, there's about the same amount of fluff and regurgitation on SLOG and the Stranger, as there is at the Times and the P.I. And by fluff, I could refer to the Entertainment and Arts section, the Sports section, the Life section, etc of our local papers. And by regurgitation I would refer you to the fact that ALL "real" media rely on wire service news for a lot of their reportage and have increasingly grown to rely on getting info from the net as well.

Don't see a lot of difference.

If you hate the SLOG so much, why the fuck are you reading it?

Posted by michael strangeways | January 2, 2008 4:49 PM
39

@22 It wasn't the Cascadia, which is an apartment building on 17th and Madison. Shannon lived in a condo on 15th and Howell.

Posted by different neighbor | January 2, 2008 6:35 PM
40

@38 We're bored. And why do you camp out here?

Posted by Shammy D. | January 2, 2008 7:18 PM
41

JTC @27: Thanks for sharing. You have always struck me as one of the more intelligent people in here and I appreciate your thoughts.

Shelly @23: I am so sorry to hear about your cousin. She sounds like a wonderful person. It's easy for those of us who live nearby to get so wrapped up in our fears that we lose sight of the fact that a person has lost her life in an act of senseless violence. My deepest condolences to your family.

Posted by RainMan | January 2, 2008 10:07 PM

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