By Michael Winter, USA TODAY
A gunman opened fire Wednesday morning in a Seattle cafe near the University District, killing at least three people and wounding two others, police say. One of the wounded later died.
Soon after, a woman was shot dead during a carjacking in downtown Seattle.
At an afternoon news conference, Assistant Police Chief James Pugel announced that a suspect shot himself in the head about 4 p.m. in the city’s southwest as he was being approached by officers investigating the carjacking. Police Chief Nick Metz said later that “we feel pretty confident that we have the suspect” in both crimes.
Police initially confirmed that the gunman had died, but later reported that he was still alive in the hospital.
Update at 11:57 p.m. ET: A hospital spokeswoman tells the AP the suspect and a fifth victim have died.
Update at 9:08 p.m. ET: One of the two wounded at the cafe, chef Leonard Meuse, is out of surgery and is expected to survive, his father tells The Seattle Times. He was shot in the jaw and armpit.
Update at 8:57 p.m. ET: Citing law enforcement sources, The Seattle Times is identifying the suspect as Ian Lee Stawicki, 40, of Seattle.
His brother Andrew told the paper, “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.”
Records show Ian Stawicki used to live a few blocks away from the Cafe Racer, the paper says. Police surrounded the house after the shooting, ordered the current tenants out and handcuffed them, residents said. They were released when police learned the suspect no longer lived there.
Update at 8:30 p.m. ET: The suspect “is alive with his own heartbeat” and is being moved to the trauma ICU, police spokeswoman Renee Witt tells USA TODAY’s William M. Welch.
Doctors did not operate.
Update at 8:04 p.m. ET: More conflicting reports regarding the number of suspects. Police and the mayor now appear to be saying one gunman was involved in both incidents. Standby for further clarification/retraction.
Update at 7:54 p.m. ET: A police spokeswoman says the suspect in the cafe killings has died from a self-inflicted wound to the head, USA TODAY’s William M. Welch reports.
Update at 7:29 p.m. ET: Police say they are still seeking the gunman who killed a woman and stole her Mercedes SUV in downtown Seattle a half-hour after the Cafe Racer shootings.
“Well, we just determined that the Seneca and 8th shooting suspect is still at large,” police spokeswoman Renee Witt just told USA TODAY’s William M. Welch. “We don’t have anything further.”
She added, “This information is being filtered to us from the scene and subject to change.”
Update at 7:11 p.m. ET: Police still do not know if the alleged cafe gunman was also responsible for the carjacking.
Update at 7:07 p.m. ET: Police searching southwest Seattle for the carjacking gunman encountered a man who resembled the suspect in the cafe killings, Assistant Police Chief James Pugel says. Officers confronted him from a distance, and the suspect stepped from behind a car and into the street. He then “knelt down in the middle of the street, put the gun to his head and fired.”
He said he doesn’t know whether he’s dead.
Update at 7:02 p.m. ET: The apparent suspect in the Cafe Racer shootings has been found in West Seattle with an apparent self-inflicted gunshot, Assistant Police Chief James Pugel just said at the news conference, relaying a report from the scene.
No report on his condition.
Update at 6:59 p.m. ET: KING-TV is reporting that the gunman in the deadly carjacking may have been shot in West Seattle. Not confirmed by police.
Update at 6:49 p.m. ET: Assistant Police Chief James Pugel says no suspect has been positively identified in either the cafe or the carjacking shootings.
He said two victims at the cafe were “clearly deceased” when officers arrived just after 11 a.m. PT.
Regarding the fatal carjacking, Pugel said that is “sketchier.” Witnesses told police they heard “a scuffle, screaming, yelling and gunshots.”
He said police are also responding to a reported third shooting. Details still sketchy.
Update at 6:42 p.m. ET: Mayor Mike McGinn has begun his news conference. Citing the day’s two tragedies and recent shooting deaths, he said he would work with police to develop “to develop the strategies to end this wave of gun violence.”
He said he would work with police to “focus on violent offenders with access to guns” and to change change laws “that make it too easy to obtain firearms.”
Update at 6:34 p.m. ET: Here’s another photo of the suspect in the cafe shootings.
Update at 6:30 p.m. ET: Police have released a photo of the cafe gunman taken from security video.
Update at 6:21 p.m. ET: Police have expanded their cordon near the cafe. Various reports indicate SWAT units and an armored vehicle have been positioned on Roosevelt, about three blocks south.
Roosevelt High School is on lockdown, the district says. A middle school and an elementary school are “shelter in place.”
In West Seattle, where police are seeking the gunman in the fatal carjacking, four schools operated on “shelter in place” rules.
Update at 6:10 p.m. ET: Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn will hold a news conference at 6:30 p.m. ET to discuss the two shootings.
Update at 5:57 p.m. ET: Police continue urge residents in the northeast Seattle neighborhood to remain inside as they search for the cafe gunman. The area has been cordoned off.
Nearby schools are dismissing students at their normal times, however, because police told district officials the area outside the restricted area is safe, a schools spokeswoman said, according to TheSeattle Times.
Update at 5:54 p.m. ET: KIRO has corrected its earlier report of four dead at the Cafe Racer.
Update at 5:43 p.m. ET: So far, Seattle police are only confirming three dead in the cafe shooting. Two others are reported in critical condition at Harborview Medical Center. The third fatality was a woman, KING-TV says.
Update at 5:22 p.m. ET: Two more victims of the Cafe Racer shooting have died, raising the death toll there to four, KIRO-TV is reporting.
Original post: Two shootings in Seattle have killed three people today, including two men who died when a gunman opened fire in a cafe near the University of Washington.
A law enforcement source told the paper domestic violence may have been involved.
None of the victims have been identified.
Deputy Seattle Police Chief Nick Metz told reporters the gunman walked into the cafe (“home to the Official Bad Art Museum of Art”) about 11 a.m. PT (2 p.m. ET) and opened fire.
The suspect was described as a white man, 30-40 years old, 6-foot-1, with a medium build. He has light brown curly hair, a goatee or beard and was wearing a white and plaid shirt.
About 30 minutes later in downtown Seattle, a woman was shot and killed by a man who stole her black Mercedes-Benz SUV at Eighth and Seneca streets, near Town Hall.
KING-TV says police have recovered the vehicle and a handgun in West Seattle. The woman, who has not been identified, was shot several times in the back.
A witness said a man got out of a car, punched the woman, then shot her, KOMO-TV reports.
The carjacking suspect was described as a white male, about 35 years old, blond hair with a crew cut.
The Times blogs that SWAT officers and police dogs are searching a house in the Genesse neighborhood of West Seattle.
At this point, police do not believe the shootings are connected.
The city has witnessed a series of recent shootings. Last week, a 43-year-old software developer was killed by a stray bullet while he and his family drove in the Central District.
In late April, a 21-year-old aspiring chef who had recently moved to Seattle from Albuquerque died from wounds she suffered in an apparently random drive-by shooting near downtown.
***Note from Anna: This is not a “surprise” to the Washington State politicians and religious leaders.
The state has had ongoing problems with mental illness, violent crime, and shootings for decades. Washington State has a higher suicide rate than the national average. Washington State has many homeless veterans needing mental health treatment. If the politicians won’t address mental illness these crimes will continue to happen. They will occur much more rapidly as jobs continue to disappear and stress levels continue to rise. Joblessness means no access to psychiatric maintenance medications. No true legalization of medical marijuana means a lot of veterans with PTSD, mothers with post-partum depression, senior citizens, and abandoned teens with severe issues won’t be able to stop their suicidal and homicidal impulses.
There is extreme disaster is brewing for the Fall season when these kids all have to return to school and many of their parents and grandparents will be suffering from reduced incomes,mental illness, alcoholism, and joblessness.
Washington State statistics:
From the Washington State Department of Health: In 2010, the most recent year for which national data are available, the U.S. age adjusted suicide rate was 12 per 100,000 people, lower than the Washington rate of 14 per 100,000.
From 2005 NAMI report: “Over 450,000 of Washington State’s 4.4 million adult residents have a severe mental illness. An estimated 80,000 Washington Children and Adolescents have a severe emotional disturbance. (U.S. Census 2000; U.S. Center for Mental Health Services; Washington Mental Health Block Grant Report (2003)”
From the Washigton State Department of Health and Human Services: Starting January 1, 2013, the department will improve utilization management to limit mental health services to less severe clients.
“Nothing is more debilitating to your motivation than not having a stable place to live,” said Joshua Chatterton, a disabled Marine Corps veteran who was homeless with his four children until getting a hand from a Longview housing agency where he now works.
“…In the late 1980s, a group of UW emergency room nurses grew concerned when lots of malnourished teens started showing up in their ER. So the nurses started Teen Feed, which is still serving hot dinners to homeless youth — seven days a week, 365 days a year — in a rotating collection of U District churches, including University Lutheran (above), University Congregational and UW Hillel.Teen Feed serves 40-70 young people each night in the U District, and another 60 or so in its almost year-old Rainier Beach and Auburn programs. “
A youth shelter that opened in one of the Teen Feed churches evolved over the years into ROOTS (Rising Out of the Shadows). ROOTS is tucked away in the basement of the University Temple United Methodist Church at 1415 NE 43rd Street. (Look for the double blue doors in the alley between United Methodist and the post office.)
Homeless youth aged 18 to 25 who find their way there can get a bed — a mat on the floor — a shower, a hot meal, clothes, toiletries, on-site case management and a variety of referral services. The shelter, which sleeps 45, is run by a combo of paid staff and college student volunteers.”
The Washington State Budget & Policy Center “…Director of Advocacy and Government Affairs Ben Secord appeared on “The Impact” to discuss voter willingness to raise taxes. (May 7th, 2014)”
“…In Washington state, Gov. Jay Inslee signed a law in May that makes it easier to commit a person against their will when they pose a potential danger by taking into account a person’s history of mental health and input from family and friends. The law was a response to a 2012 incident in which a disturbed man with a gun killed five people in Seattle.”
(From Anna: Does anyone else think Jay should have been listening to the mental health professionals at schools first? Many families cover for friends and relatives because mental illness can be inherited or they feel blame will be placed upon them.)
“…Washington State’s mental health system is inadequate. The underfunded system was cut by almost $26 million in the 2011-2013 Washington State biennial budget. The Governor’s current budget proposals would cause further deterioration of the system through cuts to Western State Hospital and Regional Support Networks (RSNs) that care for patients. The Governor is proposing the following budget cuts:
Close state psychiatric hospital wards.
…For state savings of $7.6 million, the Governor proposes closing the dementia and traumatic brain injury units at Western State Hospital and placing these patients in the community.
Reduce funding for community mental health services. The Governor proposes cutting RSN Medicaid and non-Medicaid rates for mental health services and reducing Spokane County’s hospital diversion resources. The cuts total $15.2 million in state funds and $9.8 million in federal funds.”
Here is a short list of some of the shootings:
“Home school shootings in Washington state:
February 2012: 8-year-old Amina Kocer-Bowman was critically injured at Armin Jahr Elementary School in Bremerton when a gun in a classmate’s backpack went off.
September 2011: 51-year-old Ronald Flicker was killed in a shootout with police on the grounds of Clark Elementary School in Issaquah.
February 2010: 30-year-old Jed Waits, of Ellensburg, stalked and fatally shot Jennifer Paulson, a special-education teacher at Birney Elementary School in Tacoma. Waits later died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
October 2008:15-year-old Quincy Coleman was shot and killed behind Garfield High School in Seattle. A 20-year-old was later charged with murder.
April 2007: Stalker Jonathan Rowan shot and killed his ex-girlfriend Rebecca Griego in her office at the University of Washington before killing himself.
January 2007: Douglas Chanthabouly fatally shot fellow student Samnang Kok in a hallway before the start of classes at Tacoma’s Foss High School. Chanthabouly was convicted of second-degree murder and sentenced to more than 23 years in prison.
February 1996: At Frontier Middle School in Moses Lake, two students and one teacher were killed and another student was wounded when 14-year-old Barry Loukaitis opened fire on his algebra class. He is serving a life sentence.
March 1994: 16-year-old Melissa “Missie” Fernandes was killed in a gang-related drive-by shooting at Ballard High School in Seattle. Three men were convicted.
January 1994: Neal Summers, a teacher at Whitman Middle School in North Seattle, was shot in the back and killed by Darrell Cloud, a former student who had been abused by Summers for years. Cloud served nine years in prison and later received a $250,000 settlement in a suit against Seattle Schools, saying Summers wasn’t adequately supervised.”
From 2009 Washington Independent: “…Indeed, in recent weeks more than 60 people — including seven police officers — have been killed in multiple-death shootings from coast to coast. …Spokespersons for both Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said there’s no plan on the horizon for gun reform legislation this year.”
From June 2014 National Review:
“…Before the killings, Rep. Tim Murphy (R., Pa.) proposed the transformative “Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act” (HR 3717). It ends wasteful mental-health spending and focuses the savings on getting treatment to the most seriously mentally ill — those most likely to become a headline. Murphy, who is a practicing psychologist, crafted a bill that earned 56 Republican and 31 Democratic co-sponsors, an amazing accomplishment in Washington’s toxic political environment.
Unfortunately, while well-intended, Representative Ron Barber (D., Ariz.) was misled by the mental-health industry into introducing a competing bill, the “Improving Mental Health in Our Communities Act” (HR 4574). It gives the mental-health industry more money without requiring them to serve the seriously mentally ill. It languished with hardly any support until May 2, when Nancy Pelosi spokesman Drew Hammill told The Hill that Pelosi wants a bill “that actually has the support of the mental-health community.”
On May 24, Elliot Rodger killed four men, two women, and himself — causing 35 Democrats to sign on as co-sponsors to this industry-sponsored bill so they can be thought of as “doing something.” But unbeknownst to them, what they’re doing is feeding the industry, not helping the ill.”