On May 30, 2012, just before
11 am, Ian Lee Stawicki (born September 16, 1971) walked into Café
Racer in the University District of Seattle, Washington and opened
fire with two .45-caliber handguns, killing four patrons and
wounding the café's chef.
Half an hour later, he killed another woman in
a parking lot next to Town Hall Seattle on First Hill while
carjacking her SUV. Later that afternoon, he committed suicide on
a sidewalk in West Seattle as police closed in. The perpetrator
previously owned six handguns (three 9mm handguns and three
.45-caliber handguns), including the Para-Ordnance pistol he used
in the shootings.
Joseph "Meshuguna Joe" Albanese, 52, at Café
Andrew "Schmootzi the Clod" Keriakedes, 49,
at Café Racer
Kimberly Lynn Layfield, 36, at Café Racer
Donald Largen, 57, at Café Racer
Gloria Leonidas, 52, on First Hill
Police: Seattle shootings
were like an execution
Suspect gave the finger to people helping woman near Town Hall
By Casey McNerthney and Scott Gutierrez - Seattlepi.com
June 2, 2012
When Ian Stawicki entered Cafe
Racer about 11 a.m. Wednesday, staff there recognized him from
being thrown out, police said, and reminded him of that.
The 40-year-old Ellensburg native lingered a bit, then walked near
He pulled one of his two pistols and
shot his first victim in the back of the head. The man's body
blocked the door, taking away an escape route.
One man fought Stawicki, throwing a barstool at him and using
another barstool to fight him. He was a hero, Seattle Police
Assistant Chief Jim Pugel said, because that allowed two or three
people to escape through the door the shooter had blocked.
Stawicki then went near the bar and shot the others
execution-style, police say. As he left, Stawicki took a hat from
one of the victims.
"He wasn't trying to get any
one person. He was trying to get everyone," Pugel said.
Deputy Chief Nick Metz, who reviewed the video, said that in his
nearly three decades with the department, he'd "never seen
(anything) more horrific, callous and cold." The department is not
releasing the surveillance footage.
wounded five people, including two who died at the scene, and
sparked an hours-long manhunt that spanned several neighborhoods.
It was the worst Seattle killing spree since 2006, and by the end
of the day the city had surpassed the homicide total for the
entirety of last year.
Audio from 911 calls is
included in the photo gallery above. One man who called from Cafe
Racer saved himself by hiding in the bathroom. The calls are
disturbing; reader discretion is advised.
just threw the frigging stool at him, legs first," the man who
challenged Stawicki, described only as Lawrence, told a department
spokesman. "My brother died in the World Trade Center. I promised
myself, if something like this ever happened, I would never hide
under a table."
Two victims, Drew Keriakedes and
Joe Albranese, died at Cafe Racer in the 5800 block of Roosevelt
Way Northeast. Two others shot there died later at Harborview
Medical Center. A fifth victim, Leonard Meuse, survived surgery
and was in critical but stable condition late Thursday, a
Harborview spokeswoman said.
Among the dead from
Cafe Racer was Kimberly Lynn Layfield, whose identity was
confirmed Thursday morning by a newspaper in her hometown of
Gloria Leonidas, a married mother of
two from Bellevue, was killed later when Stawicki -- fleeing from
police -- confronted her, shot her in the head and stole her black
Mercedes-Benz SUV from a parking lot at Eighth Avenue and Seneca
Street, police said.
Investigators say Stawicki
may have taken a family member's truck from the Ravenna
neighborhood and dumped it somewhere near Eighth and Seneca. There
also was speculation he had taken a Metro bus.
Leonidas had dropped off a friend when she was confronted by
Stawicki, who started beating her before shooting her in the head.
Police say she knocked the gun from his hand before he fatally
A 911 caller told a dispatcher that
Leonidas was also run over. A man and woman walking in the area
came to Leonidas' aid.
As Stawicki sped away, he
gave them the finger, investigators said.
and bystanders tried to help Leonidas, but she was pronounced dead
at Harborview, where two more of Stawicki's victims died late
Suspect's history with police
Stawicki had prior contacts with police but a relatively short
Police say he had charges for domestic
violence interference, fourth-degree assault, malicious mischief
and a 1989 Seattle case for unlawfully carrying a weapon. But
court records show only a 1995 case for driving with a suspended
license, which resulted in an adverse finding.
Seattle case from February 2008 included charges for domestic
violence interference, assault and property damage. The charges
were dismissed because the case lacked clear proof.
In that case, police officers were called to the Magnolia home of
Stawicki and his then-girlfriend to find the victim with a bloody
nose and crying. She told police he struck her and destroyed
several of her belongings, and that in recent months, he'd begun
breaking things and flying into rages, according to the police
But the victim later recanted her story.
"Ian Stawicki never assaulted me on Feb 27, 2008 or at any other
time. He never punched me or hit me in the nose, face or any part
of my body," she wrote in the statement.
suffer from frequent spontaneous nose bleeds and was experiencing
such a spontaneous nose bleed on Feb 27 2008," she wrote. "The
police must have thought this nose bleed was the result of an
assault by Ian Stawicki. I told police that my nose bleed was
spontaneous and not the result of any assault, because no assault
Stawicki was issued a concealed
weapons permit in August 2010 and had listed six handguns in his
ownership, including three 9-mm and three .45-caliber pistols,
according to records released by the Seattle City Attorney's
Police said the two .45-caliber,
semi-automatic handguns Stawicki carried Wednesday were legal.
Police were working with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms
and Explosives to trace where the guns were purchased, and whether
they were stolen or involved in other crimes, Pugel said.
Unaware that Stawicki had moved south after the Cafe Racer
shooting, police with high-powered rifles combed through the
neighborhood around Roosevelt Way Northeast. Police fielded
numerous calls from neighbors who saw someone they thought could
be the shooter. Anxiety was high as police told residents to stay
inside.Nearby Roosevelt High School was among several schools on
About 3:15 p.m., police distributed
surveillance images of Stawicki from moments before the Cafe Racer
shooting. Investigators say his brother, also an Ellensburg
native, identified Stawicki for police.
drove Leonidas' black SUV to West Seattle, police said, roamed in
crowded areas for some time and contacted an old acquaintance.
That acquaintance was unaware of what had happened, but thought
Stawicki was acting erratically and speaking nonsense. That former
acquaintance contacted police after they heard about the shooting.
Shortly after 4 p.m., a plainclothes officer spotted Stawicki near
36th Avenue Southwest and Southwest Morgan Street, and called for
As uniformed officers approached
Stawicki, he knelt on the ground and shot himself in the head.
The investigation is still ongoing and detectives have not
released any motive in the slayings, though Cafe Racer regulars
said Stawicki was known for being drunk and picking fights with
bar musicians. He had been told not to come back.
Homicide detectives are working to obtain Stawicki's medical
21 homicides in Seattle this year
The slayings pushed the number of homicides in Seattle this year
to 21 – one higher than the annual number of reported cases from
all of last year. However, police statistics list 21 homicide
cases last year because the investigation into the death of
Michelle Thornton, a woman who died Dec. 30, 2010, began the
Wednesday's shooting spree came
less than a week after a father was fatally wounded in front of
his children by an errant bullet in the Central District. Last
Saturday, another innocent bystander was shot in the right leg
near the Space Needle. The following day, Seattle had five
drive-by shootings and a fatal home-invasion shooting.
The number of Seattle homicides peaked in 1994 when there were 69,
according to department data.
other city leaders Wednesday afternoon, Mayor Mike McGinn said
it's the police department's "highest priority to identify the
strategies to try to bring an end to this wave of gun violence."
But with no suspects identified in the Central District shooting,
and the lack of cooperation hindering dozens of unsolved Seattle
shooting cases – both from this year and previous years – some
Seattle residents question whether a solution can come quickly.
Seattle shootings: day of
horror, grief in a shaken city
A man suspected of shooting five people at a University District
cafe — and a woman later on First Hill — shot himself as police
A man described by his family as "angry toward everything" went on
a deadly shooting rampage in Seattle on Wednesday, killing five
people and critically wounding another before turning a gun on
himself hours later as police closed in.
Ian L. Stawicki, 40, was identified by family
and law-enforcement officials as the man who shot five people just
before 11 a.m. at Cafe Racer Espresso in the University District —
a hangout for a tight community of artists and musicians.
Four of the cafe shooting victims died. A fifth
victim was fatally shot near Town Hall in downtown Seattle.
At the cafe, Joe "Vito" Albanese, 52, was
killed along with best friend and bandmate, Drew Keriakedes, 45.
Both men performed with the band God's Favorite Beefcake.
Another man and woman shot at the cafe were
taken to Harborview Medical Center, but died later Wednesday. They
were identified Thursday as Donald Largen, a 57-year-old urban
planner who played the saxophone; and Kimberly Layfield, 38,
originally from Albany, Ga., an aspiring actress who had recently
left her job as a dental assistant in Seattle.
Leonard Meuse, the chef at the cafe, was also
wounded. His father, Raymond Meuse, said Wednesday afternoon his
son had been shot in the jaw and armpit, but that he was out of
surgery and expected to survive.
About a half-hour after the cafe shootings,
Stawicki fatally shot Gloria Leonidas, a married mother of two, in
a parking lot near Town Hall in the First Hill neighborhood. He
then fled in her black SUV.
Abandoning the SUV in West Seattle, Stawicki
was seen on foot about 4 p.m. by a plainclothed police officer.
As police cruisers closed in, Stawicki knelt
and shot himself in the head. He was taken by ambulance to
Harborview, where he died Wednesday evening.
Wednesday's shootings bring the number of
homicides in Seattle this year to 21, the same number as in all of
Stawicki was described as a sometimes-troubled
regular at Cafe Racer, on Roosevelt Way Northeast near the corner
of Northeast Ravenna Boulevard.
Stawicki liked to hang out at the cafe, but was
kicked out sometimes for being belligerent or too intoxicated,
according to cafe employees and acquaintances.
Christopher Assaf, who lives in the
neighborhood and frequented the cafe, said Stawicki had been
kicked out two or three times in recent weeks for "snapping" at
On Wednesday, according to police, he returned
and shot all five people in barely a minute.
"It was a grisly, grisly scene," said Assistant
Seattle Police Chief Jim Pugel.
Pugel compared it to the Wah Mee massacre in
1983 in which 14 people were shot during a robbery in a Chinatown
gambling room. Thirteen people died in what was the worst mass
killing in Seattle history.
After the shooting at the cafe, Stawicki left
on foot. Doors at nearby schools were locked as police fanned out
across the area searching for Stawicki, who was considered armed
and dangerous. The manhunt stretched from North Seattle to West
Seattle as police went door-to-door.
About 30 minutes later, a shooting was reported
in a parking lot adjacent to Town Hall at Eighth Avenue and Seneca
Street. It wasn't immediately clear whether the downtown shooting
was connected to the University District shooting.
According to police, witnesses saw the gunman
and a woman arguing. Ibrahim Frishak, a maintenance worker at an
apartment building across the street, said he heard a loud pop.
A couple rushed across the street and began
administering CPR to the woman, even as the gunman was still in
the parking lot.
"They are brave, I tell you," Frishak said of
the good Samaritans.
While police said they did not know the motive
for the shooting, Stawicki's family said he had a history of anger
and mental-health problems that he refused to deal with.
His brother Andrew Stawicki, 29, of Ellensburg,
said that when he saw a photo on the news of the alleged gunman
inside Cafe Racer, he recognized it as his big brother.
Andrew Stawicki has many memories growing up
Ian Stawicki was the eldest of Carol and Walter
Stawicki's three children, two boys and a girl, said his brother.
They grew up in Beacon Hill and other South Seattle neighborhoods.
"When I was little, he would take me to punk
rock concerts and big brother things," said Andrew Stawicki said,
as he drove to Seattle from his home in Ellensburg on Wednesday.
"He was great."
But over the past five or so years, Ian
Stawicki severely changed.
"Angry. He was really angry toward everything,"
Andrew Stawicki said.
Despite his problems, Ian Stawicki would not
talk about his mental illnesses, his anger or other troubles, his
"Someone like that is so stubborn you can't
talk to him," he said. "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."
Andrew Stawicki said his brother stayed in
close contact with his parents. He said his brother cared for
their mother, who lives in Seattle, when she needed help, and she
cared for him.
Andrew Stawicki said their family long hoped
Ian would go to mental-health treatment or take medications to
keep his moods in balance.
Stawicki was arrested in February 2008 on a
misdemeanor domestic-violence charge in Seattle, and soon posted
$10,000 bail. He pledged to stay 500 feet away from a 37-year-old
woman, and listed his home address in Magnolia. His attorney
fought the charges, and they were dismissed.
He was also charged with fourth-degree assault
in Kittitas County in 2010, but that case was dismissed as well;
court records did not indicate why.
Court records indicate he has lived in Portland
and in Ellensburg, with his brother.
At a City Hall news conference, a somber Mayor
Mike McGinn said the city must bring an end to the wave of gun
violence. He said political leaders will work with the police to
ensure they have the tools they need to focus on violent offenders
with access to guns.
"We also need to focus on laws that make it too
easy for people to acquire guns and also undertake a full
partnership with the community to end the culture where young men
believe it's OK to resolve disputes with violence, including
guns," he said.
On Wednesday night, friends of the victims
converged on the lawn of a house less than block from the cafe to
remember those who died. By early evening the gathering had grown
to dozens of people who spilled onto the sidewalk and street.
There were lots of embraces, tears and stories
of friends now lost. There was also lots of Pabst Blue Ribbon
beer, which several people said was an affordable standby that was
one of Drew's favorite brews.
Seattle Times staff reporters Jennifer
Sullivan, Jim Brunner, Maureen O'Hagan, Alexa Vaughn, Hal Bernton,
Steve Miletich, Mary Jean Spadafora, Sara Jean Green, Mike Carter,
Katherine Long, Jayme Fraser, and Brian M. Rosenthal and news
researcher Miyoko Wolf contributed to this report