Machete-wielding transient arrested for felony robbery in west Olympia

Five eyewitness interviews are included below this story

This security camera video shows Lennard Harmon at the west Olympia Safeway story on May 30, 2021, police say.
Courtesy of Olympia Police Department

A machete-wielding transient was arrested twice in the span of four days last week by Olympia police for threats to “kill people” and robbing a supermarket.

Thursday, May 27

OPD were first alerted to the actions of Lennard Harmon, 48, three times on Thursday, May 27, when reports came into 911 dispatch that he was threatening to kill anyone who came near him. During these reports, all matching Harmon’s description, it involved him waving around a belt and long knives.

One report was at 6:47 a.m. The second was at 3:25 p.m. and the third was at 10:37 p.m. by the Intercity Transit downtown station security.

Olympia police contacted Harmon at 11:10 p.m., while he was standing on the corner of Olympia Ave and Washington St. OPD wrote in their report that Harmon’s hands were unseen and he kept “pacing” around during the contact. During that contact, Harmon mentioned that if people approached him that he was ready to “kill” them and that he was “armed with a knife.”

While detained, Harmon was frisked for weapons: Two knifes were found in his pants pockets. Another knife was located near the bench that he had been pacing next to.

Harmon told OPD that people were trying to get him, and that he had brandished his knives to defend himself. He was unable to provide a description or descriptions of the people trying to get him, according to the police report.

An eyewitness told OPD that as she got off of the Greyhound bus, that Harmon was acting very strange after helping her with her bags. Harmon allegedly started waving a knife and belt around, and that everyone exited the Greyhound bus and “got away from him quickly” and “no one wanted to be around him.”   Five recorded interviews are included below this story.

Harmon was booked into the Olympia Jail for disorderly conduct. 

Sunday, May 30

During the OPD morning briefing on Sunday, May 30, 2021, officers were informed that Harmon was wandering around the west side of Olympia, armed with two machetes and that several people had called 911 to report his behavior.

OPD had already been advised that Harmon had committed two thefts from stores while armed with the machetes.

OPD was also informed that Harmon was walking on Cooper Point Rd with the machetes in hand, waving them at passing cars, including confronting a female in the parking lot of Home Goods, while “asking to borrow” her vehicle.

Despite these reports, police said that they were unable to establish probable cause and determined that Harmon would be free to continue walking around the west side of Olympia.

OPD also reviewed a prior contact of Harmon trespassing St. Peters Hospital, refusing to leave the property, and threatening staff. Harmon’s trespass found him detained by five hospital security members waiting for OPD contact.

At 12:39 p.m. on May 30, OPD was dispatched to Goodwill at 400 Cooper Point Rd SW where Harmon was lying in front of the store with an unsheathed machete and would not leave as requested by the Goodwill store manager.

When police arrived Harmon complied with an officer’s request to leave, and walked across the street to the Safeway.

At 12:59 p.m., OPD received a robbery call from 911 dispatch that Harmon had shoplifted from Safeway and was now fleeing on food, while also displaying a machete after being confronted by Safeway staff. According to Safeway staff and eyewitnesses, Harmon had entered the store, taken $12.31 worth of energy drinks and walked toward the ice cream aisle. Harmon opened one of the drinks in the store and began drinking it while approached by Safeway staff.

Harmon unsheathed his machete when Safeway management attempted to contact him about paying for the items.

Several juvenile eyewitnesses in the park provided statements to OPD that Harmon was carrying a machete toward the open fence line into the skate park, and refused to stop when commanded to do so.

Police say they confronted Harmon on the sidewalk next to Yauger Skatepark and requested that he drop his machete and comply. Police say they followed Harmon for approximately 40 yards toward the park but he continued to refuse to comply. Police shot Harmon using “kinetic energy impact munitions (beanbag rounds)” as Harmon continued to walk toward the an entrance to the skatepark where 50 kids were skating. It took five beanbag rounds for Harmon to drop the knife and get onto the ground.

Harmon was “transported to Capital Medical Center to be medically evaluated,” according to police, then booked into the Thurston County Jail for felony robbery as he used the long knives while shoplifting.

  • Courtesy of Olympia Police Department

    This is a recording of a police interview with a bystander who observed Lennard Harmon at the Yauger Skatepark on May 30, 2021.

  • Courtesy of Olympia Police Department

    This is a recording of a call to 911 dispatchers regarding Lennard Harmon on May 30, 2021.

  • Courtesy of Olympia Police Department

    This is a recording of a call to 911 dispatchers from a witness at the Safeway store regarding Lennard Harmon on May 30, 2021.

  • Courtesy of Olympia Police Department

    This is a recording of a police interview with a Safeway store manager regarding Lennard Harmon on May 30, 2021. Discusses shoplifting accusation, machetes in a shopping cart.

  • Courtesy of Olympia Police Department

    This is a recording of a police interview with a Safeway department manager regarding Lennard Harmon on May 30, 2021.


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