Authorities in Washington arrested a man after he allegedly tried to blow up a local business in Snohomish County’s Lynnwood while threatening the owner with a screwdriver, police said.
Michael Paul Hargett, a 44-year-old Seattle man, was taken into custody by Lynnwood police shortly before 9 p.m. on Nov. 25 following an hours-long standoff that included a SWAT team.
According to a police statement, officers arrived at the business located near a Tesla store on Highway 99 at about 4:15 p.m. and initiated de-escalation techniques as Hargett, who stated that he was armed with a handgun, barricaded himself in a room with propane and acetylene tanks, threatening to blow up the area.
“[An] officer deployed TASER, but it did not incapacitate the male,” the statement reads. “[The suspect] fled into an adjoining room and barricaded himself … staged propane and acetylene tanks near [the] front door and threatened to blow the building up.”
After these threats, occupants of adjoining businesses were immediately evacuated, police said. During this process, Hargett also reportedly broke several windows as he started to hurl “objects” at authorities working to lead people to safety.
A SWAT team called to the scene later used a fire hose from a tactical vehicle to douse a fire the suspect started inside the building near the extremely flammable tanks.
“SWAT created breach points into the business after utilizing robot [sic] and other surveillance to see inside,” police said. “The suspect was hiding and non-responsive to directions. Less lethal impact projectiles were used after [the] suspect was located.”
The unit eventually arrested the alleged arsonist and transported him to a hospital for medical evaluation. He was then transferred to jail where he is being kept on a $50,000 bond.
Hargett is facing various felony crimes, including first-degree malicious mischief of a business, second-degree assault and arson, obstruction of a law enforcement officer, vehicle theft, and criminal mischief, according to jail records.
Antifa Praises Attack
Journalist Andy Ngo, who has extensively covered the anarcho-communist group “Antifa,” reported that the incident happened on the same day the group called on members to target Tesla properties in retaliation for Elon Musk suspending their accounts on Twitter.
“The fascist Elon Musk has chosen his side in history aligning with fascists and white supremacy so tonight we are calling for actions across the so-called ‘US’ at every local Tesla dealership,” a flyer shared by “@AshRedacted” reads. The flyer included a list of Tesla stores across the country, including in Seattle, Los Angeles, Portland, New York, and Chicago.
Lynnwood police noted in a statement that the suspect did not appear to have any connection to either the business he attempted to blow up or the owner he assaulted. Authorities also have not stated a possible motive for the attack.
A spokesperson for the department told Teslarati that they have no information on whether the suspect has ties to Antifa, although they confirmed that he was inside a Tesla at one point.
“While the suspect was inside a Tesla at one point, the incident did not take place inside a Tesla dealership,” the spokesperson told the media company. “At this time, we have no information that ties this to Antifa.”
Antifa, meanwhile, praised Hargett’s actions on social media, calling him a “legend” for assaulting the store owner and setting a fire close to highly flammable objects inside the business.
“Someone in Lynnwood, WA went to the Tesla service center last night and (allegedly) set it on fire only after (allegedly) threatening the pigs with a crowbar and getting tased. They had to call in swat. [Expletive] legend,” Rose City Antifa member “@Redwood_PDX” said on Twitter, Ngo reported, sharing the post’s archive.
A Portland-based Antifa member was not so happy about the flyer announcing that the far-left group was planning protests at Tesla dealerships nationwide.
“You do not need to announce a target before hitting it. In fact you should explicitly not do that,” “@dennisispeasant” wrote. “If the goal is the immediate gains from an attack I shouldn’t know about it until after it happens and I should never know who did it. … We are massively underpowered compared to our enemies and thus we must be [expletive] sneaky.”