Coupeville man nearly shot in ‘chilling’ incident

A Coupeville man brandishing a gun was “a hair’s breadth away” from being shot by a deputy during an Oct. 25 incident, a prosecutor told a judge last week.

Matthew D. Fitch appeared in Island County Superior Court Monday and pleaded guilty to a single count of felony harassment for threats he made in an Oct. 25 incident in which he was armed with a handgun and acting strangely.

The prosecutor and defense attorney worked out a plea bargain under which Fitch was sentenced with a first-time offender waiver but must obtain drug, alcohol and psychological evaluations and comply with treatment recommendations.

Judge Alan Hancock agreed with the plea bargain and sentenced Fitch to 60 days in jail.

Hancock said Island County Deputy Robert Mirabal should be commended for his “tremendous self control and strength” in the extremely dangerous and “chilling” situation.

Mirabal became involved in the situation after Fitch’s mother called police just before midnight. She reported that Fitch was having a mental breakdown, was possibly armed and was “trying to get” his family, the deputy wrote in his report.

His family members reported that he was having episodes in the previous week in which he said he was with Israeli Mossad, the FBI or CIA.

In text messages to his wife, Fitch called her “one of Trump’s rapists” and wrote that “witches will die” and that he was planning an exorcism.

“I will start the magic now. You are the first,” he wrote.

Fitch also ran through a Coupeville school; he texted his wife that he was armed at the time, the report states.

Fitch showed up at a home where Mirabal was interviewing his wife. The deputy went outside and saw Fitch running with a .45-caliber pistol. With his gun drawn, Mirabal ordered Fitch twice to drop the gun, but he didn’t comply.

Mirabal put his finger on the trigger and ordered Fitch to drop the weapon a third time; finally, Fitch raised his hands and dropped the gun. Mirabal arrested him.

Mirabal later said that just “a couple more grams of pressure” on the trigger and he would have fired, Chief Criminal Prosecutor Eric Ohme said in court.

On the way to jail, Fitch told the deputy that he wasn’t going to kill his wife, but planned to “scare the demon out of her.”

Fitch said he had been deep undercover with Israeli Mossad for 24 years and is known as “the Messiah.”