Police: Armed man near UW wanted to get noticed
The Nevada man arrested last week with firebombs and guns near the UW campus decried the apathy over a popular uprising in Brazil and civil war in Syria, according to charges filed Tuesday, and said he’d come west to make sure they got noticed.
Seattle Times staff reporter
The 21-year-old Nevada man arrested last week near the University of Washington with Molotov cocktails and guns described himself as “A-Political, atheist and a bastard” in writings where he laments apathy over uprisings in Brazil and Syria, according to charges filed Tuesday in King County Superior Court.
Justin Miles Jasper had come west, armed and in a stolen truck, “making sure people understand and notice it,” prosecutors alleged in the charges.
Police say they also found a “file folder containing anti-government pictures,” but the charges do not elaborate.
Jasper was charged with possession of an incendiary device, a stolen pickup and two stolen guns. The truck and firearms, as well as body armor that Jasper allegedly possessed when he was arrested, were taken from a Montana long-haul trucker who had given Jasper a ride after meeting him at a truck stop in Jerome, Idaho, several months ago.
Erik Henderson, 46, told The Seattle Times last week that Jasper had agreed to do some work around the house during his trucking trips. Henderson said he was on an 11-day run when Jasper took Henderson’s truck, a scope-mounted deer rifle, a double-barrel shotgun and military-grade body armor Henderson had used while a contractor in Iraq.
He said Jasper described himself as an “anarchist” who griped about corporate greed and other issues. He had left a letter saying he was coming to Washington to “argue with some legislators,” Henderson said. The FBI took that note, he said.
Jasper told police he had permission to take the truck, but Henderson said that wasn’t true.
Jasper was first noticed by University of Washington police on July 2 when officers found him sleeping in the back of the pickup not far from Mary Gates Drive, near the northeast corner of the University of Washington campus. He was released after officers warned him about camping in public and checked up on him for warrants, but turned up nothing.
The next day, UW police dispatchers got a “delayed hit” on the truck as being stolen, along with firearms, from Montana. Just before 10:30 that night, two other UW officers spotted the truck on Montlake Boulevard Northeast. After calling for backup, the officers conducted a high-risk stop and arrested Jasper.
The Molotov cocktails were found under a blanket in the back of the pickup next to the body armor. They were described as bottles containing “a cloth wick, duct tape, rubber band and a liquid inside each bottle.”
Jasper declined to talk to police but observed that, after police saw the fire bombs, their attitudes changed.
“I asked Jasper what he was doing with the Molotov cocktails. Jasper did not answer my question but stated that he noticed my stance had changed,” UW police Detective William Bergin in a report.
“I asked Jasper to put himself in my shoes and ask himself what a person would be doing with six Molotov cocktails.
“Jasper replied that I was painting a very sad picture,” the detective wrote.
According to the charges, writings seized from the truck by police indicate Jasper was focused on populist uprisings in Brazil and the ongoing civil war in Syria, which he wrote was “being hijacked by western vultures!”
In earlier statements, police and prosecutors said Jasper had maps to three college campuses when he was arrested. However, charging papers reference only a downloaded map with directions from the downtown public library to Northeast 45th Street and Mary Gates Drive.
He also told police he was looking for a friend who he believed was studying welding at South Seattle Community College, according to the charges.
Jasper is scheduled to be arraigned on the charges on July 22. He is being held in the King County Jail in lieu of $2 million bail.
Mike Carter: 206-464-3706 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Information from Seattle Times archives is included in this report.