Multiple-murder investigation: Police say suspect contacted ‘acquaintance’ in West Seattle

May 31, 2012 at 2:29 pm | In Crime, West Seattle news, West Seattle police | 66 Comments

(Click “play” above to see the archived video of the briefing)
2:29 PM: Coming up shortly – announced for 2:30 pm but might not start on time – police leadership and the mayor are scheduled to present another briefing with new information about yesterday’s multiple murders in North Seattle and on First Hill, followed by the suspect’s suicide in West Seattle (our afternoon/evening Wednesday coverage is here). Seattle Channel says it’ll broadcast the briefing live, so we’re putting up the video window now – when the briefing begins, you should be able to see it by clicking the “play” button. Our partners at the Seattle Times have learned more about the people who were murdered – you can find the latest links on their home page. Toplines from today’s briefing, as they come.

2:40 PM UPDATE: The briefing has yet to begin, but the City Attorney’s Office has sent the media a packet of background on suspect Ian Stawicki‘s history – both with guns, and with crime. Regarding the former, he had a concealed-weapons permit from Kittitas County, and was listed as owning six guns. For the latter, he was cited for a gun violation, and had a domestic violence arrest, in which the victim did not want to press charges. (For those still wondering why he ended up here, for what it’s worth, there is nothing in the documentation that indicates any ties to West Seattle.)

2:46 PM UPDATE: The briefing has begun. Deputy Chief Nick Metz, who briefed reporters at the West Seattle scene that ended a violent and tragic day, says he has viewed the video recording of the shootings that killed four at Cafe Racer in the north end, and he has “never seen anything more horrific.” He says over the course of the day it became “a citywide crisis” and he is giving praise to the police and fire personnel who were so busy with everything that happened over the span of 5 hours – including the dispatchers, the “unsung heroes,” he calls them. “Those dispatchers are the lifeline to the community and to our officers.” Next, he says, Assistant Chief Jim Pugel will explain where the investigation stands.

2:52 PM: A/Chief Pugel says the investigation is open and will likely remain so for several weeks, even though SPD is “confident” that Stawicki is the “only” suspect in the two shootings that killed five people. He is now going back over the timeline, starting with the first 911 call at 11:01 am. He too mentions watching the video, and saying, “in 30 years of doing this, I’ve never seen anything like that.” And he says “there is a hero” – who was sitting next to the suspect “when the suspect started shooting … and picked up a stool and threw it at the suspect … picked up another stool and hit the suspect … During that time two, possibly three people, made their escape .. so he saved three lives.” The first call about the second shooting came in at 11:32 am, says the assistant chief. He says they’re not sure what route the suspect traveled to get to West Seattle. He says a “lady warned him” that he was parked in a “tow zone. … He contacted an old acquaintance in SW Seattle and roamed in very crowded areas for some time. This former acquaintance did not know what had happened, said he was acting erratically, talking nonsense, and this acquaintance broke off the contact. Once that acquaintance heard the information on the suspect, they immediately contacted us.” Once a photo was distributed, an intel officer saw him, “could not make a safe stop,” so backups were called in … and as they approached him, “that’s when he … killed himself,” says the assistant chief, now taking questions.

3:01 PM: The two guns found were both .45 caliber semi-automatic handguns, says Pugel, during Q/A. He is asked more about the heroism he mentioned, and what was on the video of the shooting. Stawicki, he said, put a victim’s hat on his head, after “complet(ing) the shooting,” and walked out. The hero also provided “critical information,” he said. It will be up to the hero to decide whether to speak to the media or identify himself publicly, he also has said. Stawicki was “calm” during the shootings, he added. The woman who owned the Mercedes SUV he drove here was apparently getting a parking receipt when she encountered Stawicki, he says. They are not sure yet how he got from the café to that scene in 8th/Seneca – whether by car or by bus or some other way. Why he chose to abandon the car where he did, on Delridge, they don’t yet know. Why were schools allowed to dismiss students with him still on the loose? Pugel says, we had no idea where he was, we always leave it up to the school to be the final arbiter on when they release. He says they made sure top police brass were in contact and had officers at schools that decided to let out. They are not sure whether Stawicki was currently living in Seattle or elsewhere. He did choose specifically to go to West Seattle, the assistant chief said.

3:12 PM: And after the mayor was asked about gun laws and attitudes – he reiterated that there has to be a change in the attitude that it’s OK to walk around armed – the news conference ended. When the Seattle Channel archives the video for playback, we’ll re-add it to this story; everything that was said about the West Seattle angle is included above.

3:42 PM: Two postscripts. One, we have added the above photo – police said that a “bag” was the item that linked the two shootings; no description provided, but WSB’s Christopher Boffoli points out he photographed the one above at the scene. Also, the information provided by police today seems to corroborate a phone call we received yesterday, not long before everything ended with the 37th/Raymond suicide, from a WSB reader who said a friend of hers had called her because she had been contacted by someone she knew, who needed a ride, but was acting strangely; the caller said her friend later heard more about the shootings and wondered if that person was the shooter, so she contacted police. The caller told us her friend had mentioned a name … “Ian.”

4:33 PM: SPD Blotter tells a little more about the Café Racer hero’s story. Meantime, Seattle Public Schools has sent a letter elaborating on their security procedures – read on:

Dear Seattle Public Schools staff, families and community,

During the past few weeks we have heard reports of an unsettling number of violent
crimes in our region. These senseless acts leave us stunned and heartbroken.

While these incidents did not occur in our school buildings, I want you to know that
we closely monitor the neighborhoods around our schools for safety. While our
mission is to make sure our students graduate prepared for college, career and life,
safety comes first. When you entrust us with your child’s education, we know you are
also trusting that they will be safe at school.

We work with the City of Seattle and the Seattle Police Department on an ongoing
basis to ensure our school buildings are a safe place for our students to learn and
for our instructors to teach. When an incident occurs near one of our schools we
are in constant contact with the police department to determine if a school building
should be secured. On Wednesday, we followed the direction of the Seattle Police
Department in securing our schools. As a precautionary measure, some principals also
voluntarily locked their school buildings.

I am proud of our principals and school staffs for working quickly with District
Safety and Security personnel as well as the Seattle Police Department to make sure
schools were secured. I am also proud of our students for remaining calm. While many
students were not aware of Wednesday’s events as they unfolded, I do know that for
some of our students and families these last few weeks have been stressful. I
encourage you and your students to talk to the staff at your school if you are
concerned or if you have questions about your school’s specific safety plans.

Finally, while I hope we never face another situation involving the security of
multiple schools, I want to assure families that we will communicate information as
quickly and accurately as possible in times of uncertainty. We recognize that some
families were unable to get information quickly on Wednesday, and I know that is
frustrating. During times of crisis, we will continue to provide accurate updates to
the media, and you can also find more information online at www.seattleschools.org;
via Twitter @seapubschools or by calling customer service at 206-252-0010.

I want to offer my sincere condolences to those who lost loved ones in these recent
tragedies. It is my hope that we can come together and support one another as a
community.

Sincerely,

Susan

Susan Enfield, Ed.D.
Interim Superintendent
Seattle Public Schools

66 Comments

  1. Doesn’t appear to be on Seattle Channel (21 on tv), but I’m watching on Komo 4.

    Comment by MB — 2:50 pm May 31, 2012 #

  2. KING is carrying this on the air too – don’t know why it wasn’t on cable 21.

    Comment by WSB — 3:05 pm May 31, 2012 #

  3. The comment by the mayor that “there has to be a change in the attitude that it’s OK to walk around armed” is completely inappropriate. Legally armed citizens are a part of the Seattle community and will continue to be, I am one of them. Walking around armed is NOT the issue. The subject was mentally ill and happened to have access to a firearm. If we had more legally armed citizens around, perhaps he would have been stopped sooner. Please don’t turn this into an anti-gun debate. Those rights are guaranteed by our second amendment.

    Comment by Daniel — 3:35 pm May 31, 2012 #

  4. Just a clarification — it was a bit oddly worded, but I believe during the Q&A regarding school releases, his final answer was that they were communicating with the school district when they had no idea where the suspect was and also later when they had received information that the suspect was in the vicinity of West Seattle. He indicated that the school district had final say in their status, but from reports, it seems they were locked down or in safe mode at least until they were informed that the suspect was likely out of neighborhood.

    Thoughts are with all touched by these events. Lord knows many of my near and dear are reeling today.

    Comment by Armenia — 3:50 pm May 31, 2012 #

  5. We tracked it all minute by minute yesterday, and no, that’s not exactly how it unfolded, but yes, as reported at the time, they had no reason to believe he was still around here – but they had no reason to believe he was not. On the other hand, some schools nowhere near the vehicle scene went into precautionary mode – including one in White Center – and at some point, you either could say “well, everyone in the entire city could lock down” or “well, we have no reason to believe there’s an imminent threat, so let’s move on.” I also was listening to the scanner traffic as they discussed West Seattle schools, both private and public, calling in to check on what they should do – including OLG, with a police person replying on the radio “no, they’re outside the hazard zone” (I’ll have to check my work from yesterday to make sure the word was hazard – it was either that or something like risk or danger) … TR

    Comment by WSB — 3:56 pm May 31, 2012 #

  6. Do they know if he was trying to walk to the home of the person he called? Wondering if they know where he was heading when they found him. Also, did they explain why the initial description of the Cafe Racer shooter and the shooter downtown seemed to be so different. Looking at the video still of Stawicki in the Cafe doesn’t seem anything like the blonde male with a crew cut description we were given here in WS. Thanks WSB for all of your hard work in following this.

    Comment by Nitro — 4:02 pm May 31, 2012 #

  7. So have the police come out and said that witnesses at 8th and Seneca actually saw that bag on the shooter there? I don’t understand why they are being so vague about the connection if they are so “confident” that it’s the same shooter. I for one am still keeping my guard up around the neighborhood and my eyes peeled for a blonde man with a crew cut, just in case.

    Comment by SD — 4:06 pm May 31, 2012 #

  8. They also, according to one of yesterday’s three news conferences, made ballistics connections as well. And they clearly have since talked to witnesses. I haven’t heard anything vague … and I don’t know where that second description came from; to me it is a lesson in the fact that descriptions can be dangerously imprecise, but on the other hand, if you think you have something, you have to share it. That description was by the way never tweeted or posted on the SPD Blotter site … the first one was circulated widely, though. – TR

    Comment by WSB — 4:11 pm May 31, 2012 #

  9. Amen Daniel, AMEN!

    And the dispatchers, they are unsung heros!! And under paid!

    Comment by T- Rex — 4:17 pm May 31, 2012 #

  10. Ah, ok, I had been looking in news reports for details about the connection but hadn’t seen anything. Thanks for mentioning the ballistics. I just kept reading/hearing that they were confident it was the same man but not *why* they were confident.

    Comment by SD — 4:19 pm May 31, 2012 #

  11. By any chance, have you seen the email – sent just now- from Susan Enfield about determining safety at schools during these events?

    Comment by Keri — 4:29 pm May 31, 2012 #

  12. Hasn’t crossed any of my work e-mailboxes but maybe I have it in the e-mailbox where I would have received it as a parent … checking … will add i if I find it (and will ask public affairs if I don’t), thanks – TR

    Comment by WSB — 4:31 pm May 31, 2012 #

  13. Agree with Daniel. Law-abiding people are only that much more vulnerable if unarmed.
    .
    Resent having the mayor exploit this tragedy to push an anti-gun agenda. So obviously phoney.
    .
    There are already laws against everything this man did. He was a monster and no clearly beyond the restraint of any law.

    Comment by JoAnne — 4:40 pm May 31, 2012 #

  14. Daniel,
    After watching the live broadcast I could have sworn he said there has to be “a change in the attitude that it’s OK to walk around armed AND solve your disputes with guns.” I think WSB may have forgotten to include that part? Or perhaps he was speaking on the subject again, not sure.
    Great coverage by the way WSB, I was referring everyone to your site for up to the minute news yesterday.

    Comment by Dave — 4:47 pm May 31, 2012 #

  15. Emailed just in case

    Comment by Keri — 4:56 pm May 31, 2012 #

  16. It was in the personal box and then a minute or two later in the workbox, has since been added, thanks – TR

    Comment by WSB — 5:01 pm May 31, 2012 #

  17. FWIW, the “short hair, blonde, possibly crewcut” came over the scanner when an officer was relating witness comments from the downtown shooting scene.
    .
    I don’t know what the answer is if/when adults with mental illness exhibit increased anger/irrationality/paranoia and they legally own guns. Family can’t do anything–it isn’t just a matter of “better mental health care” and “increased access to mental health care” when the ill adult refuses to access it and they stay just this side of the line from being involuntarily committed. What are the options, what could be different for that?
    .
    I teared up again today reading about ‘the hero’ at the café. My heart aches for the families and friends of everyone affected by yesterday’s horrific events.

    Comment by mookie — 5:02 pm May 31, 2012 #

  18. Stats. Stats say if you own a gun, you are more likely to be killed by a gun. Stats. That is why I do not own a gun.

    Feel free to own a gun, gun owners. Good luck.

    Stats. Stats say if you drive drunk, you are more likely to kill, or be killed, in a car accident.

    That is why I do not drive drunk.

    Comment by West Seattleite — 6:17 pm May 31, 2012 #

  19. @all those gun carrying NRAers-You need to take some good hard looks at what is happening. Guns ARE killing people. I’m so tired of your bs arguments. We live in a completely different world, with completely different technology then when the Constitution was written. We want a safe society and today that means different gun laws. Stop trying to abdicate your responsibility. It’s disgusting to even try to defend these outdated laws after what this city and these families are going through.

    Comment by Sam — 6:41 pm May 31, 2012 #

  20. It’s sounds like there may have been a West Seattle connection.
    I still don’t understand why facial hair didn’t come up in the suspect description?

    I hope we as a city have the chance to honor the “hero” at the cafe. Bravo!!!

    Comment by Dunno — 7:14 pm May 31, 2012 #

  21. Democracy and freedom are MESSY at times… it’s one of the costs. Events like this should remind us how precious and fragile our lives and those of our loved ones are. Cherish every moment!

    Comment by Tracy White — 7:51 pm May 31, 2012 #

  22. I am so sorry for the losses our city has faced in resent days. My heart goes out to the victims, their families and friends. Lets remember that people kill people, things can’t kill on their own. It is horrible that a few stupid people’s bad choices have made so much sadness. The fact is Guns are inanimate objects, just like hammers, saws and knives. All are dangerous objects when used inappropriately .

    Comment by Noelle — 8:03 pm May 31, 2012 #

  23. I imagine they dont want to be too specific on what ties the two events together because it may result in witnesses providing that in their reports, whether they really remember observing it or not. I’m not saying people would intentionally lie, but humans are subject to the power of suggestion. That’s my guess, anyway.

    Comment by Jennifer — 8:11 pm May 31, 2012 #

  24. The bigger issue for this senseless rampage is Mental Health access and debunking the stigma that surrounds getting people help.

    Comment by Noelle — 8:12 pm May 31, 2012 #

  25. Daniel – Let’s be accurate with the quotes. What you quoted the mayor as say was not correct and your version was very misleading. You should correct your comment.

    Comment by John — 8:39 pm May 31, 2012 #

  26. You are correct Noelle

    Comment by burglarbustindad — 8:51 pm May 31, 2012 #

  27. The first victims of the Holocaust were the mentally ill. One can judge the quality of a nation by the way it treats it’s mentally ill and physically ill, just sayin.

    Comment by Oh No, NOT them! — 9:01 pm May 31, 2012 #

  28. My impression of the item on Ian’s person that police say connects the crimes is the hat he took off of one of his victims at Racer. RIP

    Comment by rats — 9:20 pm May 31, 2012 #

  29. One more thing to this story that I didn’t notice earlier: The audio of the 911 call from Café Racer. (Thanks to “Izzy” for posting the direct link on the WSB Facebook page.) While it is shocking because we all know now what happened, it is not one of those awful 911 calls that you hear in TV news sometimes, with people clearly just screaming and shrieking. This is a man who is relatively calmly calling for help and telling an operator what happened. It also is a lesson – if you can listen to it somewhat objectively – in what dispatchers need, and how they do their job … in discussions of 911 calls at the Crime Prevention Council, etc., we have learned that while the dispatcher is on the phone with the caller, she/he is typing information that other dispatchers are acting on, sending police, medics, etc., but all the caller might think is “why is this woman talking to me, why isn’t she sending help?” And if you wonder why descriptive information is so difficult to get – listen to what it takes for the dispatcher to try to communicate to the traumatized caller that she needs that information to help police try to find the killer: http://seattle.gov/police/Audio/Cafe_Racer_05_30_12_01.mp3

    Comment by WSB — 9:25 pm May 31, 2012 #

  30. @West Seattleite – Your argument has no merit. You can’t compare drunk driving to owning a gun, and your “stats” are what has been fed to you by the gun-fearing public.
    .
    @Sam – Do you think that if legal ownership of guns is outlawed, bad guys will comply? Do you truly believe that when your life is put in danger, cops will show up to save you? As the saying goes, when seconds count, cops are just minutes away. There is nothing outdated about my right to protect myself and my family. MY guns are not killing anyone, and if they ever do kill anyone, it will be someone who was trying to take my life. Please take a look at countries like England, where gun ownership is basically outlawed. Look at what happened during the riots. That was just a taste of what happens in a country where the government won’t let its people protect themselves.
    .
    @Noelle – Well said, thank you for having the clarity of mind to understand those facts.

    Comment by Daniel — 9:31 pm May 31, 2012 #

  31. Listening to the 911 call gave me the chills.

    Comment by A — 10:01 pm May 31, 2012 #

  32. @Noelle – yes, all the items you mention can cause harm. However, if I am angry with you and throw a hammer, saw or knife at you from across the street, from across a room, or from a car, it’s unlikely to hit you, or if it did, not with enough velocity to do you much harm. I can’t say the same for guns. If the shooter yesterday had had a knife, or a hammer, or a saw, he may have injured (perhaps fatally) one person in the cafe, but most likely he wouuld have been disarmed by the other people fairly quickly. It’s an absolute truth that a gun without a person to activate it is harmless, but the fact is that people do use guns to do a huge amount of damage in a much shorter timespan than they could with with knives, hammers or saws.

    Comment by ohthehorror — 10:45 pm May 31, 2012 #

  33. I confess I can understand the frustration of the caller with the dispatcher — I wish the 911 operators would be better about telling the callers why they’re asking questions and nothing seems to happen. Those seconds when you call seem like a lifetime. A few years ago, something was going on in my backyard around 11 p.m. as I was getting into bed. There were dogs snarling, and a flashlight moving around really fast, and possibly men fighting. It was really upsetting, and when I called 911, the dispatcher not only sounded uninterested, she finally just said, “they’re already there.” I was like, WTF? I asked her what she meant, and she said “that’s them.” And I was so confused and frustrated, and the shouting and the barking/snarling just continued. I tried to tell her that whatever was going on was getting worse, and she practically yelled at me that that was the police in my backyard and they had already caught “them.”

    I’m sure the conversation lasted only a few seconds, but I was freaked out, confused, worried, and fearful. She made no effort to explain what she was saying to me. I can’t even imagine what it must have been like to be that man, seeing people bleeding all over the place, and being asked questions without understanding the reasons behind them. I think sometimes if the dispatchers could simply say, “we’re sending help, please help me to help them find the guy,” it would be a much better situation for everyone.

    Comment by emcat8 — 11:02 pm May 31, 2012 #

  34. Our prayers go out for the family and friends of the victims and shooter. And also for our law inforcement and emergency staff who had to deal with the aftermath of this horrible event. We need to work together heal from this trauma and to restore peace and safety to the city that we all love.

    Comment by Norma — 11:19 pm May 31, 2012 #

  35. “Please take a look at countries like England, where gun ownership is basically outlawed. Look at what happened during the riots.”
    Yes, it would have been so much better if all the rioters had guns. LOL

    Comment by Uncle Joe — 11:54 pm May 31, 2012 #

  36. OK, so I’m legally concealed carrying a gun, walking through … say Pioneer Square. I get shot by a drive-by sick guy or sick gangster.

    Or, I’m sitting in a cafe, joking with friends, and drinking the last of my coffee. Pop-pop-pop! I get shot along with the two friends next to me.

    Fat lot of good a gun would do me in either of those cases.

    Comment by LivesInWS — 11:55 pm May 31, 2012 #

  37. Hand guns are specifically weapons. Knives, saws and hammers are tools. They are not like guns. A hair dryer is “dangerous when used inappropriately” too, Noelle, but that does not make it comparable to a gun.

    Hand gun carriers here’s a question…what are you so concerned about that you think it’s necessary to have the right to carry a concealed weapon in public? And how exactly will a concealed hand gun help keep you secure in our city? (Unless you’re a drug dealer…?) I’m sincerely interested in what motivates the average citizen to carry a hand gun in public in our society.

    It’s not as if we live with anarchy. We’re not at war in this country. Most people are law abiding and not violent. We have a professional police force that upholds the law and provides public safety, and courts that bring criminals to justice. There is no need for vigilantes. We don’t live in the Wild West.

    It’s highly unlikely another gun and more bullets would have helped the situation that went down yesterday. After all, a barstool seemed to work as well.

    And @Lives in WS ….yes, exactly.

    Comment by cakeitseasy — 12:26 am June 1, 2012 #

  38. “a barstool seemed to work as well.”

    Clearly this isn’t the case or the incident would have ended right there in the cafe. I don’t carry a concealed weapon, but I’m grateful to those who do in order to protect themselves and others when necessary. Maybe this isn’t the time or place to villainize gun owners.

    Comment by Grant — 3:41 am June 1, 2012 #

  39. @ohthehorror – you haven’t given any argument against citizens legally carrying. You have simply restated a fact that ANY weapon in the hands of a deranged individual can cause massive harm. This is not an anti-gun argument.
    .
    @Uncle Joe – you clearly misunderstood my point. If the rioters/violent people/offenders wanted guns, they would have them. The law-abiding citizens would and could not. Thus, the bad guys are once again at an advantage, because legal restrictions do not matter to them. Outlawing guns only disarms the good and law-abiding public. I don’t know why you don’t see that.
    .
    @LivesInWS – three things. First, one could argue that you should have been paying more attention to your surroundings. Two, carrying a gun does not guarantee that you’ll be able to use it to save your life. Three, there are and will be times in your life where you would be able to use a gun to defend yourself. You just didn’t take those into consideration.
    .
    @cakeitseasy – you can’t argue that we don’t live in anarchy and that there is no war in this country, to counter the argument for carrying a gun. How many people died as a result of a violent crime against them yesterday, across the US? Look it up. I’ll bet that it’s more than 0. Police officers do not and cannot protect everyone all the time. It is up to you to protect yourself and your family. What do I think about when I carry? I think about the fact that at any minute, some psycho in my vicinity can decide to pull out a gun and start shooting people. Unlikely? Yes. Impossible? Clearly not. I’m sorry, but the structure of your argument clearly shows that you do not understand the dangers of life. But you do, unfortunately, represent the average Seattle citizen. But don’t worry, little sheep, there are sheep dogs like myself among you. I will protect you in any way I can, should the need arise. THAT is why I carry.

    Comment by Daniel — 6:51 am June 1, 2012 #

  40. @Daniel I think there are any number of ways to incapacitate a human being SHORT of getting all Ramboed up and shooting them. A ‘well regulated Militia’ is no longer necessary to the security of our free state. We have armed and trained police officers for that. Buy some pepper spray.

    Comment by Jan Jarrell — 7:49 am June 1, 2012 #

  41. Well said Grant.
    A bar stool did a good job annoying the shooter, that’s about it. And then he went on and killed another person.

    Comment by Dave — 8:12 am June 1, 2012 #

  42. So I own guns and have a concealed carry permit. I don’t actually ever carry a gun, but a permit does make otherwise muddy gun transportation issues (does the back of a station wagon count as “secured in the trunk?”) irrelevant, so it is convenient.

    I don’t think the strength of gun laws has a particularly strong correlation to gun crime one way or the other. For every strictly controlled violent Chicago, there is a loosely controlled violent Yakima. Criminals will acquire guns if they want them, even if they have to be smuggled into the county.

    Even if you could seal the borders, guns are just not that complicated of a device. I could make a working musket with materials from the hardware store, and I’m just a schmuck with no training. A skilled machinist could make a working AK knockoff in a few hours at most. We are talking about 19th century technology here for the most part.

    To make a real difference, you have to make it culturally unacceptable to use guns in crime. I recognize that this is a MUCH larger problem. Perhaps easier would be to have truly draconian sentences for crimes with guns, and NO PLEA BARGAINING. Illegal possession? 20 years. Any violent crime? execution. Juvenile? don’t care, you made an adult decision. Make it a completely unacceptable risk to use a gun in crime. Give it a few years, I bet the numbers would drop.

    None of this could have stopped what happened Wednesday though, and the case of a sane person legally acquiring guns then going off the deep end is one that I don’t really have a good solution for. Thankfully it is also a rare case (no comfort to people affected).

    Well I’ve rambled enough at this point, I guess all I mean to say is that violence is a complicated problem, lets not pretend it has a simple solution.

    Comment by Jeff — 8:37 am June 1, 2012 #

  43. There is always going to be a fight between those who carry and those who think we should not have that right. Maybe we don’t conceal and simply open carry as that is legal in Washington. Saw a young man recently with his side arm in perfect view. I was in Westwood Village and to be honest, I felt pretty darn safe eating lunch next to that guy.

    Comment by T- Rex — 9:12 am June 1, 2012 #

  44. ohthehorror – You are totally right that guns can do more damage than knives, saws or hammers from a distance and in a short amount of time. Guns have great potential to do Terrible things. My point was that if someone is of the mind to do something bad, he or she will find a way. Maybe a gun is the easy way, but bad people do bad things, not objects. A bad person could set fire to a place, make a primitive bomb, lick the tops of all the ketchup bottles while they have the flu or poison people or who knows what else. Saying that guns should be banned does not solve the root of the problem. Banning guns would take guns away from law abiding citizens who care about the rules of law and people’s safety. Would be Criminals could just get guns from stealing or something, they don’t care about laws. If anything, a ban would make guns more tempting like forbidden fruit.

    On the flip side of the coin for your example . . . if someone at the cafe had a concealed weapon and proper training he or she might have been able to draw their gun and make the shooter stop. (by fear or by force) Mentally unstable people & criminals are the problem, not guns. Education and supportive programs for the community are what is needed from my point of view.

    Comment by Noelle — 11:18 am June 1, 2012 #

  45. Gee T-rex, I would have just the opposite feeling. How do you know that individual wasn’t mentally unbalanced? Wasn’t sitting there waiting to “make his mark.” I would assume any idiot carrying a gun like that is someone who feels threatened and thus is not the best person to be sitting next to. I would want to be as far away from an individual like that as possible. If a person feels like he has to carry a gun like that he doesn’t get society’s norms. He doesn’t get what living in a civil society means. He would be arrested in most countries that are comparable to ours. He would be considered a threat to the larger population. And you know what, those countries actually have proof that stricter gun control laws work. The actual proof is that people aren’t dying from guns like they are here. The actual evidence supports tighter gun laws. Why do gun owners deny the evidence?

    Comment by Sam — 11:36 am June 1, 2012 #

  46. Let’s say some of the other people in the cafe had guns as well. This guy starts firing then the others start firing. So then you have more bullets being fired and potentially hitting and killing more people. Sorry but that argument doesn’t work. It’s sad that we had to get to a point where everybody and their brother and sister has a gun and because of that people who should never have a gun do. The ammendments were written a very long time ago. Sometimes it’s OK to change things with the times and evolve. Can we please focus on why someone with mental illness can get a gun? Why is that allowed to happen? Because of our ammendments? Or all these wannabe gang members? What’s being done to wipe them out, because apparently they’re everywhere. Who would have known Yakima is now known for gangs which is what I learned after the latest Seattle center shooting. Are police only arresting gang members that kill someone? Why wait that long? It should be illegal just to join a gang because we already know their intention is to kill someone. Something NEEDS to change because I’m sick and tired of these things happening and being paranoid everywhere I go with my family now around here. Will the gun enthusiasts change when it’s one of their loved ones who gets hurt or worse? If they’re so set on keeping their privilege to have a gun are they doing anything to help find a solution to take them out of the hands of those who shouldn’t have them? Then I guess you could bring up the argument of who says who can have it. Why should Joe Shmoe down the street get to have one while the gang member across town doesn’t? So then don’t let anybody have them. Because I’d rather have no one have any then everybody (with the exception of people who need it for their jobs such as law enforcement in last resort situations to help protect people). Yea guns don’t kill people, the people who use them do, and the guns just make it a whole lot easier and faster for them to do it and be able to kill more people at one time. Aren’t they wonderful.

    Comment by HBE — 11:47 am June 1, 2012 #

  47. @Noelle – please note that nowhere in my previous post did I argue that guns should be banned. My dad taught me to shoot when I was 8 years old and I owned a gun until I moved to Seattle, which is statistically a much safer city than where I previously lived. My argument was simply that it is much quicker and easier to do a great deal of damage with a gun than a carpentry tool.

    Comment by ohthehorror — 11:52 am June 1, 2012 #

  48. It is heartbreaking to hear the call. I feel that the dispatcher should have informed the caller that aid was on the way then continue to get more details. I know I would want to be reassured that medics were coming. It sounds like he is pleading for help to be sent because he wasn’t told, until the end of the call. After the incident with the Powell boys, one never knows if you have to convince the dispatcher first, or if it is automatic for help to be sent.

    Comment by Garden_nymph — 12:08 pm June 1, 2012 #

  49. That this has happened is so disturbing and upsetting on so many levels. My heart is breaking for the victims, their families and all others involved. My friends and I have talked about it and one thing we all agree on is that we feel like we want to do something to help them but don’t know what we can do. I am incredibly proud of the citizens of Seattle and all of the public service/health care employees for standing up and doing such great work. There is some kind of saying that goes something like…a man’s true character shows when the going gets tough. I am proud to live in a city where there are so many wonderful, helpful, caring people.

    Comment by K — 12:22 pm June 1, 2012 #

  50. Regarding what you can do – Some of our colleagues with neighborhood-news websites in the neighborhoods where the shootings happened have been publishing lists. I haven’t had time to keep up with them and publish the links here but hope to do so when things calm down a little later … here are the main site addresses:
    .
    http://roosiehood.com
    http://ravennablog.com
    http://capitolhillseattle.com
    .
    TR

    Comment by WSB — 12:29 pm June 1, 2012 #

  51. What a crazy and very sad day for Seattle. My heart goes out to the families and friends affected by this.
    I absolutely agree that the dispatcher should have assured the caller that help was definitely on the way and then moved forward with details. This caller did a really good job of remaining calm and answering questions though.

    On the gun discussion, to quote KRS ONE
    “…understand it is the consciousness behind the gun
    That determines if the gun is positive or negative
    So let’s not blame it on no pistols, no guns, no gats
    Let’s blame it on the consciousness of the mind holding the gat”

    Comment by Wild One — 12:32 pm June 1, 2012 #

  52. Well said Wild One, well said.

    Comment by cr — 2:24 pm June 1, 2012 #

  53. I’m happy the right to bear arms is possible. I’ve been nagging my husband to get a gun for home protection. But he refused until I had lessons. We’re going to class next week :) Can’t wait!

    Comment by Bianca — 3:25 pm June 1, 2012 #

  54. @ Bianca – people who own guns are far more likely to be injured or killed by a gun than people who do not. That is a fact. Let’s not forget all the children who have been killed by their family’s guns in the past several months.
    It is be safer to have fewer guns in circulation.

    Comment by SMP — 4:08 pm June 1, 2012 #

  55. @Bianca-
    Training to prepare oneself to mentally/ethically, legally, and physically to handle a firearm is a responsible action before one should be seeking gun ownership.

    Comment by Ace20604 — 8:19 pm June 1, 2012 #

  56. Completely agree, Ace. And SMP, no kids in my house to worry about. Growing up, my dad had a small firearm in the house. Thankfully never had a need to use it, but always grateful it was there. I want the same sense of security in my own home.

    Comment by Bianca — 7:47 am June 2, 2012 #

  57. What were the “very crowded areas” in West Seattle where the gunman was roaming with the acquaintance?? Park, grocery store, Home Depot?? It’s chilling to know that this very dangerous man was walking around crowded public areas in our neighborhood after the shootings. WSB are you going to follow up to find out more details about what he was doing and where specifically he went during the several hours that he was in West Seattle?

    Comment by Greg — 9:24 am June 2, 2012 #

  58. If and when that information is made available, of course. It won’t be in the traditional way, since there is no one to charge in the case (so far as we know, unless any accomplice comes to light), which means no “probable cause” type documents emerging, but it certainly will have to be in some eventual report – TR

    Comment by WSB — 9:38 am June 2, 2012 #

  59. Thanks WSB! Rather than seeking the answers in eventual documentation, I was wondering whether you were planning to contact/follow-up directly with the acquaintance in West Seattle…

    Comment by Greg — 9:49 am June 2, 2012 #

  60. If there are no guns, there are no deaths by guns. I know that this comment is naive, but it just seems like the most simple and logical solution.

    Comment by Lisa S — 4:15 pm June 2, 2012 #

  61. At 1:45 pm he was at the west seattle nursery, purchasing a plant which he left on the property of his west seattle “acquaintance”.
    His receipt connected him to that timestamp. The recipient of his gift was “creeped out”, but probably not more than my own west seattle acquaintance, when she found out the guy she’d waited on was THE guy.

    Comment by mimi — 4:36 pm June 2, 2012 #

  62. Thank you for sharing your experience mimi… very creepy indeed! This is a major new piece of information in a story that still has so many unanswered questions to it. Truly shocking and mind-boggling that this guy was wandering around West Seattle for several hours, nonchalantly making purchases in a store after just killing five people. This merits a write-up of its own on WSB (or other local media)… I hope somebody will piece together a timeline of what he was doing and where he was in West Seattle, from the folks who encountered him here without knowing at the time who he was.

    Comment by Greg — 10:57 am June 3, 2012 #

  63. Yikes should have corrected some grammer!

    Comment by Bert — 12:35 pm June 3, 2012 #

  64. emcat8 — I agree, those dispatchers can be so frustrating. The tone of her voice was so condescending, it sounded like she thought the caller was an idiot. A little respect and reassurance would have been helpful. I’ve made a couple of 911 calls in the past and had similarly bad experiences.

    Comment by Julia — 9:41 pm June 3, 2012 #

  65. @ Daniel:

    “First, one could argue that you should have been paying more attention to your surroundings.”
    Right, the cafe customers and the woman in the Town Hall parking lot were careless. Sounds like blame the victim, eh?

    “Two, carrying a gun does not guarantee that you’ll be able to use it to save your life. ”
    Well, exactly my point!

    Comment by LivesInWS — 10:35 pm June 3, 2012 #

  66. I just listened to the 911 tapes of the caller from Cafe Racer for the first time, and it made me so incredibly angry!!

    I listened to, and heard, every single thing the guy said in his first sentence, and it sounds as though, the 911 operator isn’t just asking for clarification, she can’t listen fast enough to get the information. She wasn’t listening or didn’t hear him. And to not tell him immediately that ambulances are on their way is inexcusable!!

    I clearly hear him speak the name of the business, the address, the fact that multiple people were shot, and that the gunman is gone, and she misses all of that. Seriously, WTH??

    I also listened to the tapes from Fauntleroy, and same thing with that 911 operator. I clearly heard the cop give his location, and she says multiple times “you cut out, what’s your location again?”. When he finally says it again, you can hear the exasperation in his voice, like “seriously, you didn’t get it the first time I gave it to you”. I absolutely understand that they need to clarify every single thing they heard, because that’s critical, but it doesn’t sound like they are clarifying, it sounds like they either aren’t listening effectively or just can’t hear what’s being said.

    As a 911 operator, you need to be able to not just type fast, but THINK fast and listen fast and well. I can’t imagine the frustration cops go through if this is what they have to deal with on a daily basis. Man they have my sympathies.

    Comment by Fairmount Park Girl — 3:46 pm June 4, 2012 #

Sorry, comment time is over.

All contents copyright 2014, A Drink of Water and a Story Interactive. Here's how to contact us.
Header image by Nick Adams. ABSOLUTELY NO WSB PHOTO REUSE WITHOUT SITE OWNERS' PERMISSION.
Entries and comments feeds. ^Top^