By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
Four days after what Seattle Police Deputy Chief Nick Metz called a “citywide crisis” – four murders in North Seattle, one on First Hill, and the killer’s suicide in West Seattle – we have three followups tonight.
First: We have learned more about what Ian Stawicki did in West Seattle between ditching his final victim’s car on Delridge before noon and shooting himself at 37th/Raymond about four hours later:
He bought a blueberry plant, and left it for someone as a gift.
West Seattle Nursery confirms to WSB that Stawicki made a purchase there about midway through his four hours in West Seattle on Wednesday afternoon, just before 2 pm (as mentioned in this WSB comment). We talked with WSN’s Galen Guffy this afternoon.
She says they didn’t realize he had been there and purchased a blueberry plant and “some seeds” until they heard a voicemail message the next day, from the person for whom Stawicki left the plant. (MONDAY UPDATE: WSN has clarified the timeline of who spoke to whom and when, per this comment.) That person said Stawicki left a note with the plant, And, of course, they also heard from a Seattle Police homicide detective.
The main thing, Guffy says, that the nursery staffer who helped Stawicki with the purchase remembers is that he was “creepy.” Not in the sense that gave any hint of what he had done just a few hours earlier, though (keep in mind, his photo was not distributed until more than an hour later, at which time police were still saying they believed the two shootings were separate, and while that photo was tied to the North End murders, SPD had said the car found in West Seattle was related to the First Hill killing).
You might recall that – as reported here Thursday – police said that Stawicki “contacted an old acquaintance in SW Seattle and roamed in very crowded areas for some time.” Now we know one of those “areas”; we will continue to seek more information from police regarding the others, as they have said the investigation will likely continue for weeks. Police apparently first spotted him at Fauntleroy and Raymond – roughly half a mile from the nursery – according to this audio clip they released.
(ANOTHER MONDAY AFTERNOON UPDATE: The plant’s intended recipient, who identifies herself as a former teacher of Stawicki’s at a now-closed school elsewhere in the city, has issued a statement.)
SCHOOL SAFETY NOTE: Another followup tonight – one local principal says that while the district did not mention her campus as having taken precautions, they did. We’ve heard from West Seattle Elementary principal Vicki Sacco:
I just want to inform you of the steps we took at West Seattle Elementary during the crisis the other day. Upon learning there was a problem from parents calling the school, I made several calls to the police department to no avail. Taking matters into my own hands and to ensure everyone’s safety, I made the decision to put the building into a Shelter in Place. This required locking all doors and keeping students in the building. A letter went home with students (Thursday) informing parents of our actions. … I would like the West Seattle community wants to know that we make safety our top priority.
The school information that we reported during the unfolding events of Wednesday afternoon came from a variety of sources – the district, parents, and some school administrators (including several local private schools). Seattle Public Schools acting superintendent Dr. Susan Enfield also made a statement on Thursday about general policies.