News Column

Man Who Died in Costa Mesa Blast Had History of Mental Illness

April 15, 2013

A man who apparently blew himself up with explosives in his Costa Mesa home was known to record video of his neighbors from his property, prompting calls to police from residents, authorities said Monday.

Neighbors described Kevin Harris, 52, as odd but harmless with a history of mental illness. They made a point to walk at a brisk pace past his house, which was wrapped in foil, neighbors told The Times. Cryptic notes would appear, taped to a tree in the front yard.

A neighbor showed The Times one such note taped to the tree Saturday morning. It read: "For your information: My introspection and my adversaries behavior have convinced me that electronic mind reading is now reality."

The note is signed by Harris and points people to a rambling, 17,000-word essay titled "The Pricker."

The essay warns of dangers inside the home.

"I am at 3152 Bermuda Dr., Costa Mesa, CA, USA. You can tell it's me because I am the only one who can get into my house," the document reads. "I think it may be dangerous for you to come to my house alone."

The essay, entitled "The Pricker: A True Story of Assassination, Terrorism And High Treason," includes references to aliens, the O.J. Simpson trial, the U.S. government and "the pricker," which the author describes as "an assassin's weapon that deposits biological agents into a victim's skin, on contact, without their knowledge."

The document appears to have been first written in 2002 and updated in 2005. The website labels it a "draft of a work in progress."

Neighbors said Harris would sit in a chair in his yard and never let anyone inside his home. There were cameras outside his house, neighbors said, but they never knew if they were working.

About 5:45 p.m. Sunday, Costa Mesa police were called to Harris' home for a report of a man down. When they got there, Harris got up and went back inside. He told police he was fine, and he was wearing a hat that said in effect, "I don't need any help," said Sgt. Jerry Hildeman.

Two hours later, police were back and Harris was dead from apparently blowing himself up. Three explosive devices were found inside the home. Two of them were crudely made, authorities said, so they were detonated.

Some 16 homes in the neighborhood were evacuated and multiple agencies -- including the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Orange County Sheriff's Department, Costa Mesa police and the Orange County Fire Authority -- remained on the scene Monday morning.

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(c)2013 the Los Angeles Times

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Source: Copyright Los Angeles Times 2013