The father of the man suspected of planting a bomb in a backpack along a Martin Luther King, Jr. Day parade route in Spokane, Wash., says his son was home with him the day of the incident.
“I know he didn’t go plant it because he was with me,” Cecil Harpham told KXLY. “He helped me dress, he cooked my meals, he did my chores, he brought my firewood in and he just lived right here with me.”
Harpham said he suffered a stroke in November and that his son, Kevin Harpham, had been caring for him until last week.
Although he said his son did not plant the bomb, Harpham did acknowledge that his son is a racist and interacted with other racists online. Harpham even speculated that Kevin could have helped build a bomb.
“Maybe he might of helped them build a bomb, he might have, might have helped them build a bomb,” he said, adding that he had once had a conversation with Kevin about bomb making after his son bought a book on the subject.
“He said I bought the book and I read it and is so disappointed because there was no directions to build a bomb,” Harpham said.
And even if his son is racist, Harpham said Kevin doesn’t “know how to hate.”
“Picture that if you had a son and he said I hate Negroes, but you go with him somewhere and he meets, he goes to a cashier to pay for his gas and you see him being very polite to this Negro and courteous and you stand back and you say jeepers, for a hater, he don’t know how to hate,” he said.
Finally, Harpham tried to downplay the seriousness of bomb that was found.
“This bomb really wasn’t a bomb, it didn’t go off, they couldn’t even blow it up with explosives besides it, if anything it was a really cruel joke,” Cecil said.
Kevin Harpham, 36, has been charged in U.S. District Court with one count of attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction and one count of knowingly possessing an improvised explosive device.
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Eric Lach is a reporter for TPM. From 2010 to 2011, he was a news writer in charge of the website’s front page. He has previously written for The Daily, NewYorker.com, GlobalPost and other publications. He can be reached at ericl(at)talkingpointsmemo.com