Lynnwood man admits to attacking Marines

Lynnwood man admits to attacking Marines
Michael McCright
SEATTLE -- A Lynwood man tied by prosecutors to two Seattle terrorism suspects has admitted to attempting to run two Marines off Interstate 5.

Jailed since September, Michael D. McCright pleaded guilty to related charges last week and admitted to swerving at a government sedan carrying a uniformed Marine sergeant and another noncommissioned officer on July 12.

McCright, who also goes by Mikhial Jihad, pleaded guilty Wednesday to reduced charges that ensured he will not face a life sentence under Washington's "three-strikes" law targeting repeat violent criminals. Prosecutors have indicated the plan to request a nearly five-year prison term.

Describing the July 12 incident, FBI Special Agent Len Carver III said the Marine sergeants left the South Seattle Military Entrance Processing Station processing center at 4:45 p.m. While the staff sergeant driving the car remained in uniform, the other man had changed into civilian clothing.

The Marines were headed north on Interstate 5 near Northgate when a small blue car sped toward them. A bearded man in a skull cap - McCright - was behind the wheel.

As the driver came alongside the Marines, the staff sergeant noticed McCright spot his uniform.

"His eyes widened and he appeared to become angry," the staff sergeant told police.

McCright swerved at the government car, forcing it into the emergency lane. McCright then pulled in front of the Marines' vehicle and slammed on his brakes, nearly causing a collision.

The gunnery sergeant riding in the sedan's passenger seat called 911 and reported the Geo Metro's license plate number to the police. Investigators later linked the car to McCright and contacted him by phone.

At the time, McCright denied any involvement in the incident and said he rarely drove the car. He was arrested on Sept. 8 in Seattle.

Prosecutors have claimed McCright was in contact with Abu Khalid Abdul-Latif, a Des Moines man accused of plotting to attack a South Seattle military processing station.

McCright's connection to Abdul-Latif has not yet been divulged, though Abdul-Latif remains in federal custody pending trial on terrorism-related charges. Senior Deputy Prosecutor Gary Ernsdorff has said only that McCright's cell phone was used to call Abdul-Latif prior to Latif's arrest.

"Investigators have confirmed that the cell phone used by the defendant … was used on at least three occasions to contact Abdul-Latif prior to Latif's arrest by federal authorities," Ernsdorff said in court documents shortly after McCright's arrest. "The FBI is continuing to investigate defendant McCright's possible connection to domestic terrorism."

Abdul-Latif, 33, and Los Angeles resident Walli Mujahidh, 32, had been accused of plotting a suicidal attack on a military induction and processing center on East Marginal Way South.

Federal prosecutors claim the men planned to storm the center to kill recruits and Department of Defense employees working there. Mujahidh subsequently pleaded guilty.

The plot was allegedly thwarted in the 11th hour after another Muslim man approached by Abdul-Latif in late May went to Seattle police, and then acted as an informant.

Charged with second-degree assault, McCright remains jailed on $2 million bail. He is expected to return to court on Oct. 12.

McCright, a repeat violent felon, may have faced life in prison as a "three-strikes" offender if convicted under the original charge of second-degree assault. Instead, McCright pleaded guilty to two counts of felony harassment and one count of attempted malicious mischief.

McCright is scheduled to be sentenced June 22 in King County Superior Court. He remains jailed.

Abdul-Latif and Mujahidh also remain confined. Abdul-Latif faces life in prison if convicted as charged.