I’m getting word over email that the homeowner involved in this morning’s shooting in Kirkland is Steve Sarich. Sarich is a very prominent – but also very controversial – figure in the medical marijuana community. Last week, after a 38-year-old medical marijuana patient named Mike Howard was beaten to death during an alleged robbery attempt, Sarich sent the following email to both state legislators and the media:
I just posted this on our patient forum. We’ll be giving the story to the news agencies on Monday. I just thought you should know that this is what we face and why patients constantly live in fear. We not only have to fear being robbed, but we have to fear what will happen when law enforcement shows up to “investigate”. When my home was invaded recently, at 3:30 am, they wanted to look at my plants and wanted to see a copy of my business license. They conducted no investigation whatsoever. They came back a few days later and I didn’t even bother to call police. What happened to Mike Howard to could happen to me, or any other patient in Washington as long as we can’t trust the police to do their jobs.
This is beyond disturbing. Please help us in calling for a serious investigation into the murder of Mike Howard, including the criminal conduct of the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department.
I’m very, very sorry to report that our patient and good friend, Mike Howard, age 38, died last night of the injuries that he suffered during the home invasion on his garden on March 9th. His heart stopped 5 times last night and they were finally unable to restart it.
Mike had his face crushed with a crow bar that the murders were using to pry the plywood off the side of his shed so that they could rob his small garden in Orting, WA. Mike was conscious for a short time and told Rene, his room mate, that he never saw his attackers.
Mike was a CannaCare patient and posted here on the forum. Mike was a great guy with a big heart. He was a contractor and volunteered countless hours around here. He was also a well known dog breeder (which is where we got or dog “Nala”…who most of you have met).
This is now a murder AND robbery case. He was murdered by animals who knew that marijuana patients NEVER get help from law enforcement. While he was in a coma, dying, he was robbed again by the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department who came back to cut down his small garden and terrorized Rene, who is only 19.
This is the same law enforcement agency that, “oops”, forgot to take the murder weapon with them the night Mike was brutally attacked. They took no fingerprints. They took no photos. There was no investigation. Now that they’ve raided Mike’s home, they have undoubtedly contaminated the crime scene, making any real investigation of his murder all but impossible.
Are the police sending a message that it’s “open season” on patients here in Washington? Are they confirming that it’s “OK” to murder us and that we can’t expect to get any help from them? What are we to think? Since the Fry decision, raids on patients have increased exponentially.
I will not let this one slip through the cracks. The press needs to let the public know that this is how we are treated by LEO, even though we’re completely legal.
UPDATE: More information is online about the murder of medical marijuana patient Mike Howard last week. Here’s a discussion that took place last week while Howard was still hospitalized. And the Cannabis Defense Coalition has a page up on their site about him. Right now, I want to make it clear that the allegations in all of these posts are still uncorroborated.
UDPATE 2: Gene Johnson at the AP has spoken with Sarich and has a premilinary report up here.
UPDATE 3: Casey McNerthney at the PI has much more detail, including a video of Sarich after the shooting.