SPLC: MLK bomb suspect linked to neo-Nazi group
The man who has been arrested in connection with the attempted bombing of a parade in Spokane, Washington honoring Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday has been linked to a neo-Nazi organization, according to a group that tracks hate groups.
Police took Kevin William Harpham, 36, of Addy, Washington into custody Wednesday after a raid on his home, KXLY reported.
Prior to the raid, FBI agents placed construction equipment around Harpham’s home to make it appear that road maintenance was underway. They also created a three-mile no-fly zone around the area.
Neighbors told KXLY that they heard an explosion, and the back window of a maroon sedan appeared to have been blown out.
A criminal complaint filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Eastern Washington claimed that Harpham “did knowingly attempt to use a weapon of mass destruction” around Jan. 17 along the Unity March parade route. The complaint also alleged that he had violated Title 26 of U.S. code by having an IED not registered to him.
“Harpham was a member of the neo-Nazi National Alliance in late 2004,” the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), which tracks hate groups, noted Wednesday. For decades, the National Alliance was one of the most prominent hate groups but had been in decline since the death of their founder in 2002.
“Our research indicates that Harpham was apparently in the military in 1996-97, when records suggest he was part of the 1st Battalion, 37th Field Artillery Regiment at Fort Lewis, Wash,” the SPLC said.
“The SPLC reported in 2006 that Fort Lewis was one of several military installations with a concentration of secret extremist members.”
The FBI said early this year that the attempted bombing may have been racially motivated.
“The confluence of the holiday, the march and the device is inescapable,” Frank Harrill, an FBI special agent in Spokane, told The Associated Press, “but we are not at the point where we can draw any particular motive.”
He said the concealed device was found — and successfully defused — by city officials just one hour before the parade, which implied it was racially motivated.
— with earlier reports