The trial for a Manhattan engineer charged with three counts of attempted murder of a law enforcement officer and one count of criminal property damage opened Wednesday afternoon.
Mark Harrison, 38, appeared before Judge Grant Bannister represented by attorneys Barry Clark and Jeremy Platt on Feb. 20. The trial is scheduled to run six days. Harrison is accused of shooting RCPD Sgt. Pat Tiede as well as repeatedly shooting an armored vehicle two officers were sitting within on the afternoon of Jan. 5, 2018. Tiede was responding to a domestic disturbance call at the Harrison residence on 3700 Block of Hawthorne Woods Circle.
Prosecutors argue that Harrison was under a lot of stress due to work trouble, his daughter’s health issues and marital strife and that an argument between he and his then-wife led him to “snap.” They argue that Harrison’s threats on officer’s lives and bullets directed at the passengers in the armored vehicle on scene are examples of his intent to kill that afternoon.
The defense argues that while Harrison did fire his weapon and ultimately struck Tiede, he never directed shots at any exposed officers and never meant to kill anyone. Defense attorneys say the irregular shape of the wound in Tiede’s leg and deformation of the recovered bullet point toward a ricochet leading to Tiede’s wounding. They also point to a copper mark on the concrete outside the Harrison residence as further evidence since the round was copper-clad.
Riley County Deputy Attorney Barry Disney says Harrison’s wife had reported Harrison threatened her after she accused him of cheating and told him to leave, allegedly telling her “you poked the bees, now the bees are coming after you.” During one of the two 911 call played in court, then-Mrs. Harrison told dispatchers it wasn’t an emergency and that she just wanted an officer to come and be there while he packed and left. She wasn’t sure Harrison was home in the first call, and called back after finding out he was home. She told dispatchers there were guns in the house at the time.
Tiede testified he was eating lunch at home about 4 blocks from the Harrison residence when the call came out. Tiede and Harrison both grew up in Goodland and were acquainted with one another. Thinking their history could help diffuse the situation and his proximity to the Harrison residence led Tiede to respond to the call.
Body camera footage shown in court shows Tiede approach the house after a postman departs and ring the door bell. The door cracks open only to quickly slam shut. Harrison tells Tiede through the door nothing is happening and to leave multiple times. Harrison then fires a round out of a window adjacent to the door, Tiede turns and runs and is struck by a second shot in the thigh as he heads for cover behind a neighbor’s house. He can be heard screaming as he is hit, calling for Harrison to stop. Shots continue to ring out sporadically for multiple minutes, repeatedly striking Tiede’s unoccupied patrol car before Tiede is taken for medical attention. The video ends in an ambulance.
As the standoff continued without Tiede, an armored vehicle from Geary County SWAT occupied by Junction City Police Detective Levi Whitebread and Grandview Plaza Detective Micah Haden arrived at the request of RCPD. Harrison then began firing multiple shots into the windshield where those two officers were sitting after they did not back the vehicle away at Harrison’s request.
Tiede was “fortunate” his injuries were not life or limb threatening, according to the ER doctor who treated him at Via Christi. He was released later that same day. The bullet is believed to have entered Tiede’s thigh just near the pant pocket area and exited the front of his thigh. The doctor says he could not determine which wound was the entry or exit wound due to the irregular shape of both of them.
During his testimony, Tiede said he thought he was running for his life when Harrison fired out his window and that he was in shock someone he had known so long was shooting at him. On cross examination, Tiede told the defense that he hadn’t seen Harrison aim the gun at him before or as he ran.
The second officer on scene, Steve Adams, also testified that he could not see where shots were coming from nor headed to and did not hear or see any ricochets or shots whiz by him.
Harrison’s ex-wife also testified that she was afraid due to what she perceived was Harrison’s threat against her, but told the defense she didn’t know what he meant by it. She had trouble recalling what she told dispatchers as she says she had not reviewed the 911 tape since she made the call.
The trial is set to continue on Thursday, Feb. 21 at 9 a.m.