Criminal Minds Wiki

If you can't read the wind, the wrong person might get shot. I guess I don't need to remind you gentlemen of that.

Harris Townsend is an incidental character who appears in the Season Three episode of Criminal Minds, "Identity".


Townsend was likely born and raised in Great Falls, Montana. He served in the U.S. Special Forces as a sniper. After completing his service, he settled in Great Falls, eventually becoming disillusioned with the federal government and founding a local militia movement, which was one of many active in the area; the militia heavily supported gun rights, while also likely supporting racist ideology, given the membership's reaction to Morgan. One of the members of this militia was future serial killer Francis Goehring, who was later kicked out after the torture and degradation he imposed upon his wife Diane was revealed to the members. Townsend also ran a bar, which presumably also served as the militia's headquarters. In the episode, after Goehring, having tortured and killed three women beforehand, committed a suicide bombing that killed a police officer, the local sheriff, Sheriff Williams, called in the BAU to help the authorities assist in the search for a fourth missing woman.


When Morgan and JJ enter Townsend's bar to interrogate him about a potential partner who assisted Goehring in his killings, Townsend immediately reveals himself and becomes aggressive towards Morgan, comparing the brand (European) of the agent's gun to that of his (American) before telling him that he, an African-American, should despise the federal government for inadequately dealing with the social problems plaguing the general ethnic population, i.e. drug addiction. When Morgan assures him and the other militia members that he isn't here for trouble, Townsend finally gives in and tells him of a man who was spotted with Goehring while out hunting, but cannot identify him. Later, Sheriff Williams deputizes Townsend when the partner abducts a woman named Becky and is now holding her hostage. Townsend positions himself from a distance alongside Rossi, preparing to shoot the unsub with a sniper rifle, but he expresses his reluctance in assisting the FBI and also taunts Rossi about his involvement during the Ruby Ridge standoff. Finally, when the unsub slightly changes his position while trying to shoot Hotch, Townsend shoots him in the back and kills him. He then tosses Rossi the bullet casing while leaving.