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Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Stabbing Update: Volunteer Made Sierra Club Staff Uncomfortable

posted by on January 1 at 22:43 PM

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


Has this info been passed on to SPD?

Posted by laterite | January 1, 2008 11:32 PM

If this was the attacker then it's starting to sound like a possible obsessed stalker situation. Still so senseless and very sad none the less.

Though, I do worry that we might be encouraging a vigilante mentality when, in such cases as this, it might be best to leave the detective work to the police.

Yes, I might seem like the last person who would suggest that it's better to tell the police such information before telling the public, but I know what harm vigilantes can do... if you don't mind me saying.

Posted by Packratt | January 1, 2008 11:43 PM

while this is still awful it would be of some comfort to the neighborhood to know that this is not completely random. i don't want to stress out everytime me or my gf walks down 15th to get coffee or dinner. still very sad's been bugging me all day.

Posted by Jim | January 1, 2008 11:49 PM

I'd imagine that SPD is covering as many angles as possible. No doubt that Erica's source will say something to the police. I was just up in the area and there's definitely a strong police presence. Saw some police search lights scanning the side streets, which makes me think they're still actively pursuing the transient angle.

Posted by Bridgette | January 1, 2008 11:53 PM

The Stranger's coverage has been the best in town: comprehensive, smart, and thoughtful. Well done.

Posted by Lulu | January 1, 2008 11:58 PM

The Stranger's coverage has been the best in town: comprehensive, smart, and thoughtful. Well done.

Bullshit. The above post is nothing of the kind.

There's a difference between journalism and posting up gossip, and this is veering dangerously towards the latter. Until the cops make an official statement after an investigation, why don't you back off this conjecture and give her family and friends some space?

Posted by bma | January 2, 2008 12:24 AM

Oh, but be sure to keep kicking the homeless and mentally ill, because if one of them didn't actually kill her, they could've you know.

Posted by gnossos | January 2, 2008 12:26 AM

I had a VERY strong hunch the moment I heard this story last night that the Coward who did this knew the victim; or at least knew quite well who she was.Today I visited the spot where this horrendous crime took place and my hunch was reinforced. From the
time I first heard this story on the news I was very disturbed by this incident-still
dont know why.That punk must've known exactly the right places to stab someone so that they would bleed to death. This whole thing just makes me sick-not to mention outraged.

Posted by Anton | January 2, 2008 1:54 AM

I agree, The Stranger is posting what amounts to gossip and why are all the comments on this topic simply assholes bitching about the homeless, people saying it could have been a homeless person (the police, yes the police people described the stabber as looking like the stabber could have been a transient) then the mentally ill got thrown under the bus.

Fuck, it sounds like a bunch of mental midgets trying to make clever commentaries to top someone else. But no one has expressed ONE FUCKING BIT OF SYMPATHY TOWARDS THE VICTIM OR THE FAMILY OF THE VICTIM. So frankly fuck you all, you seem to deserve the neighborhood you live in.

Posted by Wow | January 2, 2008 4:34 AM

wow @ 9 what the hell are you on about? "clever commentaries"? no sympathy for the victim or family? where are you getting that? out of your stupid ass? and to qualify properly as gossip, the volunteer in question would have to be named, which he is not. so, no libelous action has actually occurred.

Posted by ellarosa | January 2, 2008 5:12 AM

@10, you just proved my point. Thank you.

Posted by Wow | January 2, 2008 6:38 AM

no, i didn't, wow. you are the mental midget here. i see sympathy, i see outrage, i see real humanity in these comments, and in erica's concern about the murder. you are projecting whatever anger you have about something onto this thread.

Posted by ellarosa | January 2, 2008 7:06 AM

Assuming this checks out, this would make this attack a directed, premeditated attack, as compared to the general fear women on the Hill are now taking, of random strangers with knives waiting to kill them for no reason.

Posted by Gomez | January 2, 2008 12:21 PM

Crimes like this are NOT "random" my dear watson(s)! If this were a transgressive killer by an anonymous stranger, its more likely that the killer wouldve gagged her and then dragged her into the back alley and slit her throat to prevent her from screaming. Given that she died despite recieving fairly promt medical attention I suspect the killer knew Exactly where to inflict fatal, untreatable wounds(such as the heart perhaps). The circumstantial evidence suggests a targeted killing, though I doubt it has any political motivation. In fact, that volunteer at her work with suspicious behaviour certainly Should be considered a prime suspect, if he isnt already be investigated by the SPD.

Posted by Sherlock Holmes | January 2, 2008 12:49 PM

To whoever is having a problem with people bringing up the possibility this was a homeless crazy person, you obviously don't live on 15th. There are an abundance of them around here. Sure it could have been premeditated, but regardless, you have to be insane/mentally ill to do something this horrible.
People are angry and afraid and want this person caught. They don't want it to happen again to anyone else. If someone is so out of their mind as to do this once, what's to stop them from doing it again?
I see all the people here commenting as caring about this poor woman and her family and their community.

Posted by liveson15th | January 2, 2008 7:24 PM

It seems to me that if the person was a homoless derelict or a mental case-particularly if he lived nearby that the police manhut wouldve turned up more leads than it did. AFAIK no trace of the guy was found that night. Since there evidently were people in the area who heard her scream and caught a glimpse of the guy running away, wouldnt Someone have witnessed him trying to escape back into his dwelling place(if he lived close by)?Also, the only reason I can think of why she died despite getting medical help fairly quickly is that the kiler Knew where to stab her so that she would suffer massive blood lose quickly-maybe he got her in the heart.

Posted by Anton | January 2, 2008 8:11 PM

Does Sierra club take every volunteer's personal information or can anyone walk in and just join? I hope they did take this guy's info.

Posted by vince | January 2, 2008 9:45 PM

@17 -- good point, and let's remember that the volunteer is not yet accused. If I was that guy, and I was innocent, I'd be looking to go all Richard Jewell on a few people. How do we know this source is correct? Maybe the source didn't like this person, which is perfectly OK, but that does not mean he was capable of this. The thing that does not allow me to dismiss this source's info is the matter of the photo of the volunteer being up in the office in what, I assume, was a mode of "This person is no longer allowed in here" or "If you see this person please alert the manager." But then, if it were that cut and dry, why was he allowed to "come back around Christmas" or attend the Piecora's anti-Prop 1 party?

At the end of the day, there are too many questions about this source's information -- all that said, maybe The Stranger is not printing all they know for reasons known to them.

@16 -- I know this is a serious thread, and I respect that, but you said "homoless." That's kinda funny. But back to the story: it doesn't take a medical science genius to know how to stab someone in the heart. You pretty much aim left. Unfortunately, it appears this asshole was effective at murder, but I'm not sold he was working at the Mayo Clinic.

Posted by Jubilation T. Cornball | January 2, 2008 10:30 PM

I perfectly aware that stabbing someone in the heart is a surefire way to kill 'em.But now that makes me wonder if he was facing her or if he came up behind. My POINT is that he Was sane enough to know what he was doing and wasnt just hacking at her in a frenzy of maddening rage.But you dont have to be stabbed directly in the heart in order be killed. The sides of the neck and the center of the chest below the sternum(where the Aorta is)will do just as well. None of the forensic details have been released or disclosed yet-which is why I brought this up.

Posted by Anton | January 2, 2008 11:38 PM

I used to work for Sierra Club/Pirg a few years ago and they were not at all selective as to who they hired. I was a trainer and definitely dealt with some weirdos. Hearing about this pointless violence angers me, and though I don't blame washpirg/sierra club for anything, I think they should be doing backround checks on all their volunteers/ employees. My support goes out to the family.

Posted by a hole | January 10, 2008 4:19 PM

I used to work for Sierra Club/Pirg a few years ago and they were not at all selective as to who they hired. I was a trainer and definitely dealt with some weirdos. Hearing about this pointless violence angers me, and though I don't blame washpirg/sierra club for anything, I think they should be doing backround checks on all their volunteers/ employees. My support goes out to the family.

Posted by a hole | January 10, 2008 4:19 PM

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