On Monday, Oct. 19, a man appeared on Western Carolina University’s campus spouting racial and sexual slurs while brandishing a knife at students.

Michael Scott Harrell, 25, of Lillington, faces charges of ethnic intimidation, simple and felony possession of a Schedule IV controlled substance and two counts of assault with a deadly weapon. He was previously arrested in March for misdemeanor larceny and harassing phone calls.

According to the Magistrate’s Order, Harrell approached students Charles Gadie and Aaron Gethers from behind at the McKee Building and made sexual and racial remarks while brandishing a 3-inch blade. Both men are African Americans.

A bystander witnessed the incident and called for a police response, WCU Chief of Police Steve Lillard said.

Cat-Tran Night Shift Supervisor Kevin Mabus observed the altercation.

“I was a witness at the scene that night and made a complete report of what I witnessed to the campus police department who responded to my radio call requesting officers be dispatched to the scene,” he said.

Sgt. Brandon Flesch of the WCU Police Department arrived on the scene at 11:20 p.m., where Harrell appeared disruptive and intoxicated while blocking traffic at the intersection of Killian Building Lane and Centennial Drive. During his pat-down search, Sgt. Flesch discovered 5.5 milligrams of Klonopin, a sedative used to treat seizures, panic disorder and anxiety. Harrell was then arrested and taken to jail.

Harrell’s court date is scheduled for 8:30 a.m. Monday at the Jackson County Justice Center.