Multiple-murder followups: Where the killer went in West Seattle; plus, school-safety note

June 3, 2012 at 8:50 pm | In Crime, West Seattle news | 82 Comments

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.

82 Comments

  1. Wow this is disturbing. The air was electric during this time. We live close to the nursery and the eventual dead end for him at 37th & Raymond. One could feel he was around…I was picking up kids from 2 schools and I just had the gut feeling he was around.

    Comment by Seaview — 9:13 pm June 3, 2012 #

  2. So no word on how he was getting around after ditching the SUV? Was he on foot that whole time?

    Comment by GenHillOne — 9:18 pm June 3, 2012 #

  3. I live very near the nursery. Reading this gave me chills.

    Comment by Kristina — 9:23 pm June 3, 2012 #

  4. Seaview, I feel the EXACT same way….I could feel the presence of danger….this is very interesting, as I kept reeling through where he could have possibly wondered…do we know what the note said??

    Comment by truth — 9:23 pm June 3, 2012 #

  5. I agree, although how scary to know for sure.

    Comment by Seaview also — 9:27 pm June 3, 2012 #

  6. I picked my kids up from 2 schools and one of those schools simply let the kids leave and wander around. The other school wouldn’t allow the kids to leave the building without an adult.

    Comment by Bonnie — 9:31 pm June 3, 2012 #

  7. Where did the person live who he left the blueberry plant?

    Comment by Bonnie — 9:31 pm June 3, 2012 #

  8. @ Seaview. Me too. I just knew he was in that area. I feel so fortunate that it was just not my time to come in contact with a homicidal maniac. My Path crossed his apparent path more than once that day. It gives me chills. I never saw him and I’m thanking my lucky stars.

    Comment by Lfauntleroy — 9:32 pm June 3, 2012 #

  9. Oh man. I normally drive down Fauntleroy then cut across to Morgan then 35th to pick up my child from preschool. Didn’t that day ’cause I wanted to stay on main thoroughfares. As it was I was just south of Raymond on 35th when the cops converged. It gives me chills to think he was wandering around. That poor nursery employee must be beyond freaked out.

    Comment by AMDG — 9:43 pm June 3, 2012 #

  10. I, like many of you, had the feeling he was in the vicinity of my house. I work on the Eastside and when I heard word of this, something told me not to go home until at least my husband headed for home. He shot himself not far from my house and now after hearing the new details, at one point he was only a block away. What an eerie feeling!

    Comment by j — 9:49 pm June 3, 2012 #

  11. I had errands to run that day near the nursery, and even at the nursery, and I just had this bad feeling that I shouldnt go over near there, so instead I stayed home…reading this I am so glad that I trusted my instincts!

    Comment by CD — 10:09 pm June 3, 2012 #

  12. What’s disturbing and chilling about knowing his whereabouts during those four hours (I understand there is some speculation that he made his way up Longfellow Creek and through the golf course), is the terribleness he could have wrecked on so many other lives. Thank God for small miracles. (The monster ended up offing himself 200-300 from my house. It’s a dubious and unsettling distinction that I or my neighbors will not soon forget.)

    Comment by OP — 10:14 pm June 3, 2012 #

  13. From Fauntleroy and Raymond to 37th and Raymond tells me walked right past my house at 38th and Raymond. I left not too long before it all ended and I too had an eerie hair-standing-up-on-the-back-of-my-neck feeling.I’m fairly certain I got checked out by an undercover officer driving by as I got into my van too. I am a white guy with a dark beard, but heavy so I think he gave me the once over and kept going. It’s all too much…

    Comment by 35this35mph — 10:15 pm June 3, 2012 #

  14. That day was my birthday, and my husband and I were going to go out between 12:30 and 2:30 to have lunch and do a few things to celebrate that I consider fun — top of the list was stopping off at the nursery. I had something specific in mind to purchase. We decided not to leave the house after we learned about the abandoned car on Delridge (just 4 blocks away from us). I literally felt at any moment that he could walk down the street in front of our house. Even when the police gave the ‘all clear’ and stated that they no longer thought he was still in the vicinity, I could feel that they were mistaken. I knew he was still wandering, hiding, or running amongst us in West Seattle. I’m really disturbed on so many levels by the events of that day.

    Comment by goodgraces — 10:27 pm June 3, 2012 #

  15. Now I wonder about whether the canine unit was able to track him at all. Did he walk up Genesee Hill up to Avalon? Don’t I recall them checking a location near the north side of the golf course?

    It is all so horrifying and tragic, but that he changed his shirt and went shopping is … beyond words. Healing thoughts to all.

    Comment by Deanie Schwarz — 10:44 pm June 3, 2012 #

  16. What?!?!?!?

    And the gaul of a particular elementary school nearby to have attitude on the phone when people (including us) called to ask if they were on lockdown or not! Wow.

    My son actually offered details teachers were discussing about the shooting – they openly discussed it using the words guns, dead, killed, shooting – really? Maybe I’m a little Victorian in my belief, but maybe they should not discuss this sort of thing in front of five and six year olds? He was very upset and shaken up by hearing this! Especially having been rushed – not walked – rushed inside. It’s the parent’s job to explain anything beyond the words “emergency situation”.

    Very disappointed.

    Comment by BrassyMomma — 11:02 pm June 3, 2012 #

  17. I too am curious about the canine unit results. From the helicopter footage, it really appeared as if the dog was at times onto a strong scent. But then he/she would end up in a random backyard or would loop back to the abandoned SUV. If the killer was truly on foot the whole time after leaving the car, I would think he would have been easy for a trained canine to track because conditions were good that day (no rain/wind, etc.) I can see ‘losing’ the track at Longfellow Creek or in the woods somewhere, but I don’t believe the dog ever made it that far.

    Comment by goodgraces — 11:12 pm June 3, 2012 #

  18. Having listened to the scanner the entire day AND had two people covering the search all afternoon – there were a multitude of sites they checked, besides trying to follow the trail with canine. The golf course was a report of a guy who seemed to be walking through it and did not appear to be golfing. Was it him? Don’t know. There was a guy allegedly hiding in a yard near SW Yancy area – Patrick and Christopher went there too. And then there was a report of a guy with an openly holstered gun standing near Westwood Village – Patrick had just stopped at home after that one proved for naught (we are not too far from Westwood), when the call came out over the scanner about the shots at 37th and Raymond, and he raced back out again. I hope that police will share more of what they know, but for now, this is all we have – the WS Nursery info did *not* originate with police at all; they have not said anything beyond what we reported from the Thursday briefing, recapped briefly here, that he was in “crowded” places in WS and that he had contacted an acquaintance – whose identity we don’t know, nor do we know any other locations – including where Stawicki left the plant … TR

    Comment by WSB — 11:17 pm June 3, 2012 #

  19. A blueberry plant??? He bought a blueberry plant? It’s deeply creepy that he was only across the street and four doors from our house, but the blueberry plant is just so…out of proportion to everything else he had done that day.

    Comment by Scooterista — 11:58 pm June 3, 2012 #

  20. This information about the blueberry plant makes me sad, for a few reasons.
    Awful tragedy.

    Comment by curious — 12:32 am June 4, 2012 #

  21. In response to Brassy Mom, I appreciate your concern for the children at the school as I work at a school (outside of WS) and I am the emergency preparedness person for the school. Even though there are telephones throughout the school, there are only perhaps 8 lines into the school. That secretary had most likely answered dozens of calls. These calls tie up the lines and prevent vital communication with the police and district offices. The best way to get info is to watch the tv– not to call the school.

    Comment by Truthful — 5:23 am June 4, 2012 #

  22. With the discription of the suspect, any of us would have walked right by him. (blonde crew cut, nothing about facial hair) I’m sure he used the greenbelt to get the other side of 35th SW. Most likely came across golf course into Camp Long and across 35th to the Nursery. This guy seemed to know West Seattle.
    I agree with the upset parents, this could have turned out a lot worse!

    Comment by Dunno — 7:06 am June 4, 2012 #

  23. I’m a pretty tough city girl who doesn’t usually get spooked by media hype over crime. But this is too close to home.
    .
    We MUST start taking care of the mentally ill in this country. What will it take for us to do so? How many of these incidents do we need to have before we get it?

    Comment by Kayleigh — 7:12 am June 4, 2012 #

  24. BRASSYMOMMA – what school was it?
    ______

    Someplace “crowded”? I would assume this means the junction? Beyond creepy that he could have been walking by me at lunch or could have decided to kill more people randomly.
    _______

    Life is too short and you never know when your time is up.

    Comment by wondering — 7:15 am June 4, 2012 #

  25. I assume he took a bus from cafe racer to downtown before he carjacked the lady. How creepy for those people;(

    Comment by Cclarue — 7:53 am June 4, 2012 #

  26. Re: The school information point. In a market this size, TV actually isn’t the best way to get neighborhood-level information, and that’s why we do what we do, the way we do it, during ongoing major events. (Not saying our methodology is perfect either, but at least we are focused on one specific geographical area.) In particular, since at that point in the afternoon, police still hadn’t publicly said – if they even realized it – that one killer was to blame for both incidents, the citywide media information (we were monitoring some of that too) still was talking a lot about the schools near the other shooting scenes. Anyway, for those who aren’t intimately familiar with all the schools in WS, and I’m sorry I don’t have them mapped somewhere, WSN itself is not “close” to any – although in retrospect anything will seem “close.” The Junction parochial schools are .7 mile north, Gatewood is 1 mile south. As that afternoon unfolded, the only location anyone knew for certain was related to all this – until the end – was the 4100 block of Delridge. Not only were there various unfounded reports of suspicious people, there also was one unfounded report he might have gotten on a bus, or caught a ride with somebody, per the myriad things discussed over police radio (and who knows what else they had heard that did NOT get broadcast over the scanner). The largest issue in this is, though, an organized distribution of official emergency information – and whether there is any way for something like this to lead to an areawide robocall, for example – TR

    Comment by WSB — 7:59 am June 4, 2012 #

  27. Aside from all of the public schools in this area of West Seattle, there are also numerous home-based preschool and childcare programs, like my own, which happens to be right near QFC in the Alaska Junction. We base our policies and decisions heavily on the Seattle Public School’s decisions. On Wednesday, I secured my twelve kids (all under the age of five) inside behind locked doors and closed windows as soon as I heard of the elementary schools sheltering in place. When the schools announced normal dismissal, despite not having the gunman in custody, I listened to my gut and kept my kids inside that afternoon. We would have normally been playing in the front yard right at the time he finally took his life ten blocks away.
    While I commend the SPD for it’s quick actions that day… in my opinion, the schools in this area of West Seattle should have remained locked-down until he was apprehended. There are tons of kids who walk home from High Point and Gatewood around those neighborhoods. As well as all the home childcare businesses, like mine, who make decisions based on the schools.

    Comment by Jena — 8:04 am June 4, 2012 #

  28. It’s very disturbing to think about all of us in West Seattle that had a near miss with this subject.
    .
    As we all imagine what could have happened in this case, I think this helps explain why some of us prefer to have the right to legally carry a gun.
    .
    While hopefully nothing like this will ever happen in our neighborhood ever again, we can never be sure. And while I respect those who dislike the thought of anyone having a gun, I hope everyone can respect the right of us who choose to own a firearm.
    .
    We can speculate forever about what could have happened on that day, but in every case that comes to mind, I feel slightly less scared and helpless knowing I have at least some option available to help protect myself, my family, friends and neighbors.
    .
    I understand that some people in our community are genuinely curious as to why some of us feel safer carrying a gun and I apprecite that these people are making an effort to try and understand both sides of the issue. I think this situation perfectly illustrates why we prefer to retain our choice.

    Comment by D.C. — 8:20 am June 4, 2012 #

  29. I don’t understand why people are this freaked out when nothing happened to them. Trying to pull yourself into this tragedy is pathetic. You weren’t anywhere near any incident, you didn’t know it was going on at the time, so let it go and stop repeating all these inane stories that have nothing to do with six people losing their lives and all the family and friends that were actually affected.

    Comment by NotMe — 8:32 am June 4, 2012 #

  30. Hindsight is always 20-20..what if he was never found in west Seattle? Would people then be saying well jeez we could have been playing outside all day safely.

    Comment by Casey — 8:49 am June 4, 2012 #

  31. Blessings to all touched by this. May all be safe. May all live with ease. May all be happy. May all be healthy.

    Comment by LivesInWS — 8:52 am June 4, 2012 #

  32. @ NotMe – people aren’t doing that, we are simply putting the thought in our minds “It could have been me”. EVERYONE does this with every horrific crime incident. An office shooting, school shooting. I don’t believe people are “freaking out”

    Comment by wondering — 8:52 am June 4, 2012 #

  33. Personally, I say better safe than sorry. I wasn’t criticizing. In situations like this, we should discuss it as a community so we can learn and prepare better in the event that something like this ever happens again.

    Comment by Jena — 8:55 am June 4, 2012 #

  34. D.C. –

    Please bear with me.

    I will, honestly, come straight out and say I disagree with people carrying guns. I grew up in a house with guns, my father was very responsible with them and taught me how to use them and be responsible and respect them as well.

    However, the number of gun accidents with kids, mentally unstable people using guns when they do not have the mental capacity to think through their actions, etc have led me to feel very strongly that we need some serious change in how people gain access and our accountability and reaponsibility for them. There are not enough well meaning legal concealed weapons permit holders to be in the random right places at the right time. Such as cafe racer at 11 am on Wednesday, or the Parking lot downtown, or near our schools or the junction in West Seattle – though I don’t doubt some were – intentionally.

    The way I see it is our schools were not in lockdown because people were afraid of a mentally unstable person and the damage he could do without a gun, but the damage he did and could continue to do with a gun. It was a huge unknown that even my family members that do carry guns-whose right I respect very much — couldn’t have prevented.

    When it hits this close to home, it is really hard to not feel political about it. Reading the comments about carrying guns … and not can be emotional and frustrating during a week like this. We need a dialogue that is constructive and looks at solutions.

    I want to thank you for your comment. it was well written, not defensive and I felt you were not trying to incite angry comments, rather an attempt to get someone to see your side in a respectful way, thank you.

    Comment by Isha — 9:07 am June 4, 2012 #

  35. Strange, I was working at home in seaview, and also had the feeling that danger was present. I loaded my legal gun.
    Trust your gut………..

    Comment by me too — 9:09 am June 4, 2012 #

  36. One wonders what you were expecting when reading these comments, NotMe.

    Comment by Cait — 9:17 am June 4, 2012 #

  37. NotMe — As the parent of child who was walking a direct line toward this man as he fired what turned out to be a fatal shot, who spent the afternoon racing to the place she ran to hide, the evening calming her, and the following days thinking and overthinking “what if,” I’d like you to tell you that your comment is off base. My family was indeed affected by this, and you cannot tell me we were not. Furthermore, this event will continue to haunt all of us in the neighborhood who pass by the spot where the violent end to a violent, ugly day played out. If you find our stories inane, I’m sorry for you and hope you find more compassion for the people in your community.

    Comment by Bob Loblaw — 9:22 am June 4, 2012 #

  38. I was perplexed at the illogic of Lafayette in lock-down, but no reports on WSHS or Madison. I have since found out that a number of schools took measures to “shelter-in-place”, and I thank the staff for safeguarding our kids.

    I think the Central admin, Transportation, Safety and Security et al downtown will need to review how they supported our principals and building staff that day. I seem to recall that the reports of on-time dismissals came from downtown.

    Please conduct a “lessons learned” analysis, find the best ways to reach out to parents and the community with info, and include parents in possible solutions. I too did not want to burden the school with phone calls or pull up to the front door, placing many at risk. I want to help, even if it means sitting at home waiting by the phone.

    Comment by Cecilia — 9:39 am June 4, 2012 #

  39. For all the people that ‘knew; he was around, why didn’t you call the police? I didn’t realize WS was full of profilers and crime scene mediums!

    Comment by Dizzle — 9:49 am June 4, 2012 #

  40. Dizzle – how about, for that matter, the family who “saw this coming.” If you just have a bad feeling, that’s not always something that 911 is willing to entertain especially with calls flooding in all day. I’m sorry, I wouldn’t jam up the boards with my intuition either.

    Comment by Cait — 10:26 am June 4, 2012 #

  41. I’m not happy that Madison released kids to walk home alone with this going on. Not happy one bit! I didn’t realize this situation was in play until my child was already on a metro bus after walking 6 blocks alone.

    Comment by Nichole — 10:36 am June 4, 2012 #

  42. As the parent of an SPS student, I am pretty offended by the idea that a concerned parent should ever not call the school they’ve entrusted with the safety of their child. If there are only eight lines going into the school, that is a product of our political climate and an obstacle that is not insurmountable. Its not our fault or problem. Use the email addresses you collect from us every year. Email me that you are locked down or email me that you are proceeding mormally. Both messages would be gratefully received. Sign up for a twitter account and ask that we follow it and check it before we call. If such a tiny bit of effort reduces your calls by even 10%, is it not worth it? Prove that we can trust you to get us important information when it’s pertinent. A letter home from you or the super intendant the next day is inadequate. If all else fails, answer the phone and muster some politeness and empathy for the worried parent you are addressing. Would you not also be worried? After all, we are your customers, and if you can’t manage compassion for us, how can we trust you to for our children?

    Comment by Christina — 10:46 am June 4, 2012 #

  43. I have to agree with Dizzle. All you mediums should have flooded SPD with calls to let them know you “knew” he was in the area. So what are your feelings on Dec 21, 2012 and the end of the world? Do tell!

    Comment by kewfly — 10:53 am June 4, 2012 #

  44. There are certainly some larger issues for community discussion in this event. I agree with Kayleigh in her comment,
    “We MUST start taking care of the mentally ill in this country. What will it take for us to do so? How many of these incidents do we need to have before we get it?”
    In addition, this brings home the need to reexamine effective emergency management and communication in our world of texting, smart phones, community based media, and real-time monitoring of events through broadcast and social media.
    Not to be overlooked, is the perennial gun control question. It may be a “right” to bear arms, but certainly using said arms is discretionary and until we can prove that all who bear are capable of discretion there should be some limitations to the “right”.
    Finally, let’s all remember to let our family and friends know that we love them. Life does not allow an instant replay.

    Comment by bystander — 10:59 am June 4, 2012 #

  45. Nichole, it was not for lack of trying to get clarifying information. In retrospect, MORE must get done to verify the “all-clear”. Apparently, one was provided, but it was inaccurate. Let’s establish WHO has the means, the knowledge and authority to come to this determination, and then keep parents informed.

    Comment by Cecilia — 11:01 am June 4, 2012 #

  46. I also take issue with the comments by notme. Talking about this as a community and realizing the closeness to which this mass murderer passed by our houses and children with a loaded weapon and a sick mind is precisely how we deal with it, reflect on it, and make changes as a community because of it. Those changes may be better school safety procedures, tighter gun laws, stronger tools to deal with domestic abusers whose victims later recant from intimidation, easier intervention for mentally ill who may do harm, etc. etc.

    Comment by Gabby — 11:10 am June 4, 2012 #

  47. Maybe Seattle schools need a threat level indicator to make students and parents know the exact level of current danger. Sad truth would be, it never moves from orange, because simply put everyone who has committed a murder or violent felony has not been caught yet.

    Comment by Ace20604 — 11:22 am June 4, 2012 #

  48. Dear Mr Loblaw… clearly, I am not talking about someone who witnessed a man killing himself. I feel bad for your little one, and I hope you all recover soon. I am talking about people that had “a bad feeling” or loading their guns because they have a feeling. Really? How about GoodGraces’ comments? That’s not freaking out?
    .
    You know what? If some of you prefer to live in fear and stay home, and lock your doors and windows and remain terrified, then I won’t make fun of you. I will ask that you take a deep breath and go outside and walk your dogs, take your kids to the nearby park and have fun while enjoying the beautiful place we live in. It isn’t scary out there at all.

    Comment by NotMe — 11:51 am June 4, 2012 #

  49. Lets give thanks to our West Seattle police for chasing down the killer and preventing more murders.
    Very creepy he was was walking around California Ave.

    Comment by bike2work — 11:53 am June 4, 2012 #

  50. WSB – any further information on where the “blond crew-cut” description came from? There were several witnesses from the 8th and Seneca murder at 11:30. It therefore seems like the SPD would’ve been able to link the two crimes sooner and then would’ve been able to publicize a more accurate description of the suspect for us West Seattleites.

    Comment by SMP — 12:11 pm June 4, 2012 #

  51. To the guns make it safer crowd.Bad guy pulls a gun in a crowded area. Hero pulls his gun and shoots bad guy. Another hero sees the shooting and mistakes hero #1 as a bad guy, pulls his gun and shoots hero#1. Another hero sees hero#2… ect.ect. until the police show up to a firefight and shoot everyone brandishing a weapon in public. If you pull a gun in public without a uniform you are the bad guy. just saying.

    Comment by thistle stair — 12:50 pm June 4, 2012 #

  52. @NotMe-

    It isn’t scary out there TODAY because there is no known crazed murderer on the loose, highly likely to to shoot and run over anyone in his path.

    Wednesday’s events were out of the ordinary, and upsetting to those even who were not directly affected.

    The way we individually process how the tragedy played out in relation to ourselves does not diminish how it affected the lives of dead and their loved ones.

    Comment by ad — 12:56 pm June 4, 2012 #

  53. @bystander, Washington State does take care of Mentally Ill. It is up to the mentally ill to seek help. Without an Overt Act,Washington like most states it is impossible for the family to do anything. Could be that law needs to be modified. Even with treatment, there is no guarantee the mentally ill person will take medicine correctly. If this killer had lived, even if he was mentally ill he should have been given the death penalty for not seeking help.

    Comment by Melanie — 1:14 pm June 4, 2012 #

  54. I just wanted to clarify what I told Patrick Sands from the blog yesterday. I said that we had received a voicemail from the lady that received the blueberry as a gift. In actuality, my co-worker, Ingrid Nokes, spoke with her on the phone pretty much at the same time that my Manager, Marcia Bruno, was speaking with the police for the first time on the matter.

    What I have taken away from this occurrence (other than being totally creepified)is that I want to speak with some kind of expert who knows about folks like Stawicki-what makes them tick, and get some tips for retailers and service industry people on ways we could diffuse these sorts of situations should they arise in the future.

    If I can put together some kind of check list to this effect for my co-workers I would feel empowered versus paralyzed with fear. Does anyone have any suggestions about who to contact?

    Thanks!

    Comment by Galen Guffy — 1:20 pm June 4, 2012 #

  55. Thanks for the update, Galen. I will add the reference to this comment to the story. Also, re: your question, hopefully someone can share firsthand advice but this appears to be a relevant compendium – it’s meant for police but a few of the points seem of note, especially in how not to set someone off, so to speak:
    .
    http://www.policeone.com/edp/tips/2008816-6-reminders-for-contact-with-emotionally-disturbed-people/

    Comment by WSB — 1:33 pm June 4, 2012 #

  56. Thanks for your comment, thistle stair. I am just as fearful of well meaning, law abiding citizens brandishing a gun in public when many of them have little or no training about how to use it in this type of situation.

    Comment by Suzanne — 1:38 pm June 4, 2012 #

  57. @NotMe: I am not ‘freaking out.” I was and remain disturbed by the events of that day. And, yes, I did alter my behavior and not go out and walk my dogs and walk around the neighborhood per usual when I thought the “armed and dangerous” man was within walking distance of my house. How many other people did so that afternoon? Hundreds, I’ll bet. That may be “freaking out” to you, but considering this man *was*, in fact, walking amongst us and shooting people seemingly at random, I think it was a sound practice.

    Who were you referring to when you described people that “weren’t anywhere near any incident” and “didn’t know it was going on at the time”? Most folks on this thread who you characterize as “freaking out” were within blocks or even a few houses of this man at the time and DID know what was happening.

    Finally, I strongly beg to differ that if one is not one of the shooting victims or their friends/family that one is not “affected.” Even though the vast majority of us were only indirectly influenced by this monster’s actions and travels, I can’t imagine that each and every sentient person in West Seattle and beyond was not in a very real sense “affected” by the events of that day. Whether or not each individual chose to alter his or her plans that day in response to the danger is a matter of personal choice, and a very complicated decision. Why criticize folks who played it safe?

    Comment by goodgraces — 1:52 pm June 4, 2012 #

  58. NEW INFORMATION: We have broken this out into another story. The recipient of the plant has publicly identified herself as a North Admiral resident who was a teacher of Ian Stawicki’s – a quarter-century ago. She has issued a statement and asked that she not be contacted (a request we will honor): http://westseattleblog.com/?p=111024 – TR

    Comment by WSB — 2:12 pm June 4, 2012 #

  59. If there were no guns we would not have to arm ourselves against people with guns..just sayin’

    If we did away with ammunition eventually there would be no gun issue.Ammo is the problem.

    We live between Raymond and the Nursery as well. I had to go out and nearly went to the Nursery at about the time he would have been there.Decided to drive on by for whatever reason. Apparently he did no harm at that location so it would not mattered had I gone or not but the creep factor would have been pretty high.

    Comment by ohmygosh — 2:13 pm June 4, 2012 #

  60. “It isn’t scary out there TODAY because there is no known crazed murderer on the loose, highly likely to to shoot and run over anyone in his path.”

    There probably IS a crazed murderer out there packing heat walking among us at any time, maybe standing next to you in the supermarket, or driving past you or walking on the same sidewalk, or sitting on a bench where your kids play, or whatever. Armed people are among us everywhere, because it’s *easy to get guns in WA*, and many people who say they need to carry guns are fearful and feel the need to be on guard. Some will never use their weapons to kill but some are just one short fuse away from being Ian S. (or G.Zimmerman for that matter) So, I guess you should be as afraid now as last Wednesday afternoon.

    Comment by cakeitseasy — 3:11 pm June 4, 2012 #

  61. @Seaview:

    “The air was electric during this time. We live close to the nursery and the eventual dead end for him at 37th & Raymond. One could feel he was around…I was picking up kids from 2 schools and I just had the gut feeling he was around.”

    I absolutely felt the same way!! You took the words right out of my mouth. I too live between the nursery and where Ian was caught, and when the police on Delridge called off the search there I thought “Noooooo, he’s still out there!!”. I could feel it. People who are very in tune with their animal instincts (i.e. gut level feeling, premonition, whatever you want to call it- it’s our animal instincts we all possess), can understand this feeling. Those who are ultra-logical and not in tune with their animal instincts can’t understand this. I’m just glad I’m in the former camp because my ‘gut’ has saved me countless times over. I have learned that you should always, always listen to your instincts. Always.

    What made that day even scarier for me is that I dated Ian 20 years ago. (I was the ‘ex-girlfriend’ interviewed by King5). I didn’t know it was him until later that night, but I now wonder if somehow I felt his presence in WS because it was someone I knew. I really did feel a visceral feeling that he was close to my house- very close. And it scared the crap out of me. And I don’t scare easily- there is very little I am afraid of. I’m a tough broad. But that day was just different- very different.

    I too wonder where exactly he was, and what his intentions were. I also wonder if, since he knew where his teacher from 25 years ago lived, if he knew where his ex-girlfriend from 20 years ago (me) lived too. He came within a block of my house that day, twice.

    So many unanswered questions. So many of which Ian would have been the only person to answer.

    RE: the comments on this blog post, It’s great to see that those who possess empathy and compassion can understand and support their fellow community members and allow them the forum to express their own valid experiences and concerns. I really love this community.

    Comment by Fairmount Park Girl — 3:25 pm June 4, 2012 #

  62. thistle stair- You’ve set up quite the straw man argument there- has that EVER happened before? Anyway, do you have any idea what sort of training or skills are required to safely carry a gun concealed in public? Maybe we could have a sensible discussion about that…

    Comment by Cascadianone — 4:37 pm June 4, 2012 #

  63. Thank you WSB for following up on this story— from the reader comment on the earlier story all the way to the new developments today, you’ve continued to seek new information and offer a forum where valuable information and experiences can be shared. Once again, WSB is at the forefront of a breaking news story by reporting information available nowhere else (or available here first).

    Comment by Greg — 6:17 pm June 4, 2012 #

  64. Thanks for the thoughtful reply, Isha.

    Comment by D.C. — 6:33 pm June 4, 2012 #

  65. It’s terrifying to know this man was in areas I frequent, near where my son goes to school, near my home where my dog was outside. I think about this every time I drive down 35th past Raymond, as I walk by myself to my parking space downtown, as I think of my son locked safely inside his classroom with all the windows shuttered. I don’t think I’ll forget this for a very long time. And we shouldn’t forget it. We should discuss, improve, learn, change so we never let this happen again and so we honor those lost in this tragedy.

    Comment by D-mom — 6:48 pm June 4, 2012 #

  66. Melanie, you are completely, DEAD wrong about care being available to those who are mentally ill. Even some years ago when most people had some semblance of medical coverage, mental health benefits were restricted. These days, with 48 million people uninsured, mental health care is minimally available. Community programs have always been woefully inadequate, and most of those have been eliminated recently. Add to that the fact that many people suffering from mental illnesses – even those who are willing to accept help – are not emotionally equipped to deal with the bureaucracy surrounding the limited benefits.

    Last but not least – mental health treatment is not an exact science, if indeed a science at all. But at least adequate and readily available care would provide a framework in which seriously ill people could be identified and hopefully some kind of intervention provided.

    BTW – I met Ian that afternoon in West Seattle. I’ll never forget it, even though it was a brief exchange. I’m glad to be alive.

    Comment by Enid — 7:26 pm June 4, 2012 #

  67. I am glad to hear that those with eerie feelings stayed away. Perhaps something would have set him off and West Seattle Nursery could have turned into tragic results. Best to trust those instincts. You never really know with mental illness. Although I was downtown and my kids were far for the area, I had true worry for my West Seattle community. No one wants to come home to more crime scene tape. At least there one only one death.

    My hearts go out to the family and friends of the victim, as well as the poor schoolteacher he left the plant for. I would be distraught. So I will think of her as well. Thank you WSB for respecting her privacy.

    Comment by Amy — 7:29 pm June 4, 2012 #

  68. - meant, I was truly worried about my W.Seattle community.

    Comment by Amy — 7:31 pm June 4, 2012 #

  69. Cacadia-Yes, there is an element of a straw man in there but every CCP person I know always seems to envision a scenario where it’s them and the bad guy. No bystanders,other gun owners,plain clothes police and I’m just taking the “guns make it safer” argument a little further. How many people should have guns? What if your local bar was 60% packing heat? feel safer? I do know what kind of training it takes to safely carry a gun in public, I also know a vast majority of gun owners do not get that training and there are NO training requirements to get a conceal/carry card in Washington because I have one. $55.25 and they hand it over. If you are saying that the requirements should be stricter with more training then I totally agree.

    Comment by thistle stair — 7:35 pm June 4, 2012 #

  70. Nail on the head, WSB(“The largest issue in this is, though, an organized distribution of official emergency information – and whether there is any way for something like this to lead to an areawide robocall, for example.”)

    Private schools were left to glean information as best they could from each other and from the WSB. In at least one case, it was pure chance the school heard of the developing situation at all–an employee received a text message from another school with which they had a relationship.

    While the WSB is a fantastic resource–and the only source of any kind of detailed information during this event–school employees shouldn’t have to monitor it constantly. We need a convenient way for the police to communicate immediately with all the schools, both public and private, without tying up police who have to focus on their primary mission.

    Comment by J — 7:46 pm June 4, 2012 #

  71. Tracy: Do we know the connection of the Jeep SUV boxed in at 37th and Raymond when all the police cars screamed in? Was it the undercover police officer’s vehicle? Or a citizen stopped when all the police action happened, and stuck there during the investigation? The Jeep was there, blocked by police, when I walked outside to check on all the sirens at the intersection, a half block away.

    Comment by 3rdGenWS — 7:57 pm June 4, 2012 #

  72. My daughter was in preschool on California in Gatewood and we had NO idea this was going on. No sheltering, no nothing. I wish we knew he had been all over that day. Thankful no one was hurt in West Sea.

    Comment by Ack!!!!! — 8:08 pm June 4, 2012 #

  73. What is interesting to me is that I believe I saw the Mercerdes the gunman was driving last Wednesday at the intersection of Delridge and Sylvan Way. The gentleman was heading east towards SSCC.

    Also of interest is that people I talked to in Pa this morning knew of this incident and were concerned that it took place only a couple miles from my home. So much for our livability.

    Responding to the comment about taking care of our mentally ill, it is really critical to get back to taking care of our elder, our youngsters, and those who can’t take care of themselves.

    The longer we wait, the more of these situations we will have to endure. So much of what is reported these day reminds me of what New York City was like in the 1960s and 1970s.

    Isn’t taking care of people more important than the silly signs that tell us you only have to wait 9 minutes of travel time until you reach the stadiums. Where have our priorities gone? Maybe its time to cut the ‘signage budget’ and increase the ‘people budget.’

    Joan Bateman

    Comment by joan bateman — 8:39 pm June 4, 2012 #

  74. Ultra creepy week. I hung out regularly at Racer Cafe and now know that the shooter was there at least one time when I was there. Plus I live between the nursery and 37th & Raymond. It is too late to remove the MILLIONS of guns in circulation. I wish it was not. However, reality being what it is, I for one feel safer having access to my firearm. At least I have a chance a protecting myself. Yes, gun owners need more training and practice than many of then get or do.
    I practice and am grateful for my rights. Frankly, I do not feel very safe at the moment.

    Comment by Cautious Joe — 11:12 pm June 4, 2012 #

  75. @thistle- About 5% of people in our State hold a permit to carry concealed. That doesn’t count people like me who carry on their badges under the provisions of LEOSA. But most permit holders and too many LEOs don’t carry regularly. The glove box gun is most common. Among those of us who are packing every single day, I’m proud to say I mostly see very dedicated and highly-skilled operators. I agree we need more training, but everybody needs it, not just gun-owners. Honestly, it needs to be in schools again. We are awash in guns and they aren’t going away. Our kids need training in gun safety and active shooter response techniques. Fear born of ignorance is getting people killed, IMHO. We’ve got a lot of Rights and not enough Responsibility or Respect to go along with them.

    Comment by Cascadianone — 7:04 am June 5, 2012 #

  76. @ enid-~~~!! Are you serious you met this Ian S. Wednesday in West Seattle. Please elaborate. Please shed a little light on this. Did you contact SPD? Have they interviewed you? Where were you? What time was it? What was the circumstance? Did he just ask for the time or what?

    Comment by Lfauntleroy — 7:44 am June 5, 2012 #

  77. As for carrying a concealed weapon. I am doubtful that anyone could have stopped the executions in Cafe Racer. He was trained and from what I understand a good marksman. He aimed his gun with the intention of killing the target at very close range. The hero in the coffee shop was moving and throwing objects and Ian didn’t even attempt to waste a bullet on a moving target. A person standing still enough to reach for their concealed gun…would have to be a pretty accurate shot to even hit him in the chaotic 2 min. that he shot the place up. I think that person carrying would be safer making a run for it. Those who were standing still got shot. This was not like in the movies where bystanders are quick on the draw and ready and waiting to take out a bad guy. The likely hood of a person with a concealed weapon protecting themselves or any other person in this kind of situation…I find that doubtful. If there are documented cases of this then I wonder why the media doesn’t report on it. What we hear about are things like burglars (who in my opinion deserve to get shot…) who are shot by homeowners who hear them coming and have time to arm themselves and shoot and then cases like the Zimmerman/Trayvon where they have time to think about it and shoot someone who really wasn’t a threat.

    Comment by Lfauntleroy — 8:02 am June 5, 2012 #

  78. @enid & joan bateman-

    Have you contacted the police with your information? If not, please do.

    SPD Non-Emergent Line: (206) 625-5011

    Comment by ad — 10:32 am June 5, 2012 #

  79. WSB-Thank for the link – very helpful.
    I want to tell you guys that I have a new appreciation for your competence, clear sightedness and integrity in determining what constitutes news and when to let it go.

    Yesterday several other local news media institutions descended on our nursery like vultures. Intent on exploiting this tragedy for everthing it’s worth, they were obsessed with getting every possible angle on the story (even though each of their finished products were virtually identical). They made a co-worker of mine cry – she knows the people who were shot at Cafe Racer and wanted to grill her about them. One so-called reporter tried to get her to look at pictures of the victims off his iphone.
    It was a truly shocking display of yellow journalism.
    For my local news, I’ll stick to the blog. I know you guys have our community’s best interest at heart.

    Comment by Galen Guffy — 12:50 pm June 5, 2012 #

  80. @Lfauntleroy- You should check out IDPA competitions on Youtube some time. Even better, check out our local IDPA competitors at the Renton Game and Fish Club. It sounds like you would be amazed at the speed and accuracy even the mid-level/average shooters are achieving in these combat shooting simulations. Then watch the cafe shooting video again for comparison. I just want to dispel the magic that terrible things sometimes hold- Stawicki was just a man, nothing more. Men can be opposed- can be stopped- by other ordinary men (and women). Retreating is clearly a deficient strategy, we’ve seen it fail over and over again in these Active Shooter Scenarios. There are facts about these types of shootings, and all the facts point to an immediate, aggressive response as being the deciding factor in how high the body count rises. This is how the military and police are training and it’s honestly just a fail on our leadership’s part that the public are not getting the same education. Enough with this fatalism and helplessness.

    Comment by Cascadianone — 4:38 pm June 5, 2012 #

  81. I was shopping at the WS Nursery yesterday. The camera crews were very intrusive, and I left sooner, with few purchases than I had planned. Do these media organizations think about the business losses that are being caused by their presence? I just don’t see any useful purpose, and the statement that the guy bought a plant covers it all for me. I’m sure that Ann Rule will write a book at some point, and she can do all the speculation.

    Comment by Gina — 4:41 pm June 5, 2012 #

  82. I think the most important question is: why did Ian Stawicki own so many registered hand guns?

    Ian Stawicki should not have owned any hand guns. He did not need a gun. None of us (or very few) need a hand gun, especially here.

    Hand guns are designed for one purpose: to kill human beings. It can be in self-defense, by accident, or through horrific acts of violence which continue to rock our community.

    If you own a hand gun, you can make an effort to keep your gun from killing another human being: have it destroyed.

    Comment by r-u-tuning-in — 11:20 pm June 5, 2012 #

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