Shootings stun Seattle residents; gunman, 5 victims dead
By the CNN Wire Staff
(CNN) — Seattle was reeling Thursday after a man killed five people in two shootings before turning the gun on himself.
The suspect, identified by CNN affiliates as Ian Stawicki, died Wednesday night, several hours after he shot himself in the head as a five-hour police manhunt came to an end.
Detectives believe the man was behind both the shootings. The first, at a coffeehouse in the city’s University District, left four people dead and one critically injured. The second, about a half-hour later near downtown Seattle, left a woman dead, authorities said.
Two of the victims at Cafe Racer were members of a local folk band, God’s Favorite Beefcake, according to CNN affiliates. They were found dead at the coffeehouse. A woman and a man died later at a hospital. A fifth person was in critical condition, police said, but was not expected to survive.
CNN affiliate KOMO identified the two band members as Drew Keriakedes and Joseph Vito Albanse.
“It’s heartbreaking, it really is, to think of that loss,” David Gordon, a friend of the men, told the station. “It’s not just for me, but for the rest of the world. They were such great contributors to the quality of life in Seattle and elsewhere.”
Evan Hill, who lives near the coffeehouse, said he could hear the gunfire from his living room.
“I counted four or five shots and somebody shouting, and I ran out to my balcony and called 911,” Hill told KOMO.
Hill called the cafe a “very mellow” venue that hosts artwork and musical performances.
“It makes you kind of angry that it would happen in a place like that,” he said.
About a half-hour later, the woman was shot in what police described as a possible carjacking. Citing police, KOMO identified her as Gloria Leonias, 52.
Detectives “feel very confident that unfortunately, these are all connected,” Assistant Police Chief Jim Pugel said.
Witnesses to the second shooting told police that a woman and a man were arguing in a parking lot when the man pulled out a pistol and shot the woman in the head, he said.
Authorities believe the man stole the woman’s sport utility vehicle, Seattle police wrote on their blog. The SUV was later found in West Seattle, and a gun was inside, authorities said.
Pugel said a plainclothes detective spotted the suspect in southwest Seattle, within two miles of where the SUV was found. The detective called in uniformed officers, and the man shot himself, Pugel said.
“As uniformed officers approached the suspect, he knelt down to the ground and shot himself,” according to the police blog. He was rushed to a hospital but later died.
The suspect’s brother, Andrew Stawicki, told The Seattle Times that Ian Stawicki had long struggled with mental illness, but refused to talk about that or his anger.
“Someone like that is so stubborn, you can’t talk to him,” he told the newspaper. “It’s no surprise to me this happened. We could see this coming. Nothing good is going to come with that much anger inside of you.”
A Wednesday night meeting was held in the city’s Central District, where Mayor Mike McGinn and police officials discussed a recent spike in violence in Seattle, KOMO reported.
“If violence is a disease, our city is infected,” said Paul Patu, of the city’s Youth Violence Prevention Council, according to CNN affiliate KCPQ. “When old people are afraid of young people, something is wrong. We have to commit to getting to know each other and stop being strangers.”
Seattle, a city of about 600,000, recorded 20 homicides in 2011, according to Police Department statistics. Wednesday’s shootings bring 2012′s year-to-date total to 21, according to KOMO. Two cases have been cleared, and seven arrests were made.
Two other people have died in random shootings in Seattle in the past month, according to CNN affiliates. In late April, a 21-year-old woman died in an apparently random drive-by shooting near downtown. And a 43-year-old man died last week while driving down the street with his family. Police said the gunman’s intended target in that shooting was another person involved in a dispute with the gunman. No arrests have been made in either case.
On Saturday, a bystander was wounded near the city’s landmark Space Needle when he was struck by a bullet allegedly fired by a gang member involved in a dispute with another man, according to KIRO.
McGinn acknowledged at a news conference that the violence had “shaken” the city, KIRO reported.
“It’s going to take our political leaders coming together to give our police officers the support and tools they need to do their jobs,” McGinn said.
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