Three Dead and Two Critically Injured in Shooting at Cafe Racer, One Killed in Shooting Near Town Hall, Suspect Ian Stawicki Shoots Himself in West Seattle, Believed Responsible for Both Incidents
Four people have been killed today in two shooting incidents in Seattle—one shooting on Roosevelt at Cafe Racer, the other shooting in downtown Seattle near Town Hall. The suspected gunman shot himself in West Seattle this afternoon. He was taken to Harborview and is in critical condition. Scroll down for the latest, scroll past for other news and posts.
The scene near Cafe Racer, which is in the background with the light green sign. (Click to enlarge.)
The SPD Twitter feed adds that there are "multiple shooting victims" and that the suspect "was seen running away from the scene northbound. He was armed with a gun." The Seattle Times, citing a law enforcement source, says "there may be 5 victims." And the SPD confirms: five victims, two of them dead.
11:37 a.m. Another shooting, this one downtown:
The SPD says of the downtown shooting, "1 female shot."
11:55 a.m. A license plate, via the SPD, for the car allegedly involved in the suspected carjacking downtown:
12:04 p.m. Police have "recovered" the vehicle involved in the downtown shooting. Cienna reports from the scene of the downtown shooting that the victim, a woman, was shot in the head and has died.
Detective Mark Jamieson, talking to reporters at 8th and Seneca.
12:20 p.m.: Cienna reports from 8th and Seneca:
Witnesses saw a man and a woman in a disturbance in the parking lot behind Town Hall. The witnesses saw a man pull out a gun, and then he shot her in the head. The Fire Department responded and took her to Harborview, where she died. The man left in the Mercedes that was mentioned on the SPD Twitter feed earlier, which was recovered a short time ago in West Seattle. No description of the suspect beyond adult male, but they're interviewing witnesses and working on a fuller description.
Cienna also interviewed a witness, Ibrahim Frishak, who was pressure-washing the sidewalk across the street when he heard the shots. He tells Cienna it was one gunshot, and then he saw a couple in their late 30s run across the street to the victim before the suspected shooter pulled out of the parking lot. The couple tried to give the victim CPR and were joined by another witness. At the same time, the shooter peeled out of the parking lot, driving very fast. "I just got back a week ago from Libya on vacation to visit relatives," Frishak told Cienna. He said everyone over there carries guns, but added: "Now I think Libya is safer than Seattle."
12:37 p.m. From Brendan Kiley:
Teresa Wippel of Seattle Public Schools says that Roosevelt High School is "on lockdown" and that Eckstein Middle School and Greenlake Elementary are on "shelters-in-place" status, per the suggestion of the Seattle Police Department.
"Shelters-in-place" means that activity is continuing as normal but the doors are locked and staff are keeping watch over the perimeter. "Lockdown," she said, means that students have been advised to keep away from the windows and away from the doors, with the lights off.
Wippel added that parents who have children in those schools are advised to stay away and not pick up their children until further notice.
12:55 p.m.West Seattle blog is all over the search in that neighborhood, where a car allegedly connected to the downtown shooting was found. "Police now have SWAT units in the area but there is no word of an arrest yet..." Police Blotter says that a gun was found in the SUV.
1:06 p.m. Goldy reports from near Cafe Racer that the rumor in the neighborhood is that the police were already arriving when the gunshots occurred—the inference being that there was some sort of noticeable disturbance under way before the shooting began.
Meanwhile, the SPD, via its Blotter, provides some more details on this morning's events at Cafe Racer and advises residents of the University District to "keep their doors and windows locked, and to call police if you find any indications someone has tried to break in to your home."
1:31 p.m. Goldy reports:
Mike Kirkham, who works at The Fish Store on Roosevelt, just down the street from Cafe Racer, was talking with some customers near the front door of his shop this morning when he heard two muffled shots. His door was open, and he looked down the block and saw at least three cop cars already there, as well as people running away from the scene. "I figured the cops had caught had caught the shooter," Kirkham told Goldy.
Goldy also saw some people walk out of the roped off area around Cafe Racer just now, one woman in tears, others with her. He heard one of them say they were regulars at the cafe. None of them wanted to talk to reporters.
On the top floor of City Hall, Assistant Police Chief Nick Metz is briefing Mayor Mike McGinn on today's shootings, and mayoral staff have just announced a press conference at 3:30 p.m. That event will feature McGinn and SPD brass, but not Chief John Diaz, who is attending an unfortunately timed policing conference this week.
2:30 p.m. Cienna, listening to the police scanner, says that police are currently searching an area in West Seattle around Dakota and 30th, and that the suspect from the shooting near Town Hall is believed to be in the area.
2:39 p.m. Dominic reports:
I've just spoken to Seattle City Council president Sally Clark, who—along with the rest of the council—has been peppered with official text messages with updates on the shootings for the past several hours. I asked her about a meme that's been popular among conservative commentators and even some cops: They contend that overreaction to the department's excessive use of force has resulted in a culture in which criminals can shoot with impunity. (For example, from the Seattle Times last week: "A police officer wrote to say to expect more violence as long as the force has one arm tied behind its back by the feds and the media.")
President Clark responds: "I don't believe that there are Seattle police officers stepping back from their job. I just don't think that is a widely held view at all. Police officers are hit hard by the violence in their communities."
Clark isn't immediately seeking any legislative gun restrictions, she adds, noting that courts "slapped back" the city after former mayor Greg Nickels attempted to ban firearms on city-owned property in 2009. That said, Clark continued, "We are frustrated by the easy access to firearms and people resorting to the use of firearms."
The council's public safety committee, led by Council Member Bruce Harrell, will be meeting on June 6 to discuss the issue of gun violence, gun laws, and concerns about so-called "de-policing."
2:49 p.m. Goldy says that according to regulars and people who work there, Cafe Racer had a video recording system and the shooter may have been caught on camera.
3:08 p.m. Brendan reports:
According to SPD data, today's four killings (so far) bring Seattle's year-to-date handgun homicide total to 20.
By this time last year, there had only been three.
That is an increase of over 650%.
There have been 33 shootings overall this year (fatal and non-fatal) and 14 related arrests.
3:10 p.m. Police have a photo of the suspect in the Cafe Racer shooting and are now sharing it with officers, according to the police scanner. Meanwhile, Paul Constant says "the culture of fear is alive and well at the Seattle Times." Cienna notes that a mayoral press conference will be starting shortly (live video here). And Town Hall has cancelled tonight's event:
We here at Town Hall Seattle are deeply shaken and disturbed by the chilling events that transpired in our neighborhood and at Café Racer earlier today. We want to assure our friends and neighbors that all of the Town Hall staff are safe, although deeply traumatized by the violence that occurred in the parking lot adjacent to our building. Contrary to many reports the incident did not occur at Town Hall but understandably close enough for our building to be used as a point of reference. Seattle’s recent rash of violence touches us all, but none so deeply as those whose lives are tragically cut short. Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of the victims of today’s violence.
In light of the situation, we feel it would be inappropriate to continue with today’s event with Terry McDermott, scheduled for 7:30pm Downstairs at Town Hall. All ticket holders will be issued a full refund... Additionally, our staff is working on a program to provide an outlet for community discourse around violence, guns, and the string of incidents of which this is only the most recent. More information on developing programs will be available when finalized.
3:27 p.m. Police have released two photos, taken from security camera footage at Cafe Racer, of the suspected shooter in that incident.
Seattle Police Blotter
The SPD says: "The suspect is a white male, approximately 30 years old, wearing a dark short cap, with well-groomed dark hair, a neat full beard, wearing a light blue jacket. He is considered armed and dangerous. If you recognize this man, please immediately contact the SPD tip line at 206-233-5000 or call 911." Click to enlarge.
3:43 p.m. Goldy, still at the scene of the Cafe Racer shooting, just ran into Washington Ceasefire Board President Ralph Fascitelli.
"I blame the Democrats, I blame Chris Gregoire, and I blame Frank Chopp," Fascitelli told Goldy. "Frank Chopp is killing us. He won't even let this issue come up in committee. Frank Chopp has blood on his hands. Guns plus anger equals gun deaths."
3:55 p.m. We're hearing on the police scanner that someone's been shot at 37th and Raymond in West Seattle. West Seattle Blog is hearing the same.
"We do have a suspect," Assistant Police Chief Jim Pugel is saying at the press conference. "We believe it's the suspect from the North End shooting."
Christopher Frizzelle calls in to say that it sounded, at the press conference, as if the man shot in West Seattle is the Cafe Racer shooter. But, as Pugel pointed out at the press conference, this is happening right now and still a bit confused.
4:09 p.m. Pugel, at the press conference, is now confirming that that person who was shot just now in West Seattle appears to be the Cafe Racer shooter. "He apparently knelt down in the middle of the street and put the gun to his head and shot himself," Pugel said.
4:30 p.m. Dominic reports from City Hall that police are exploring the possibility that one man is responsible for both of today's shooting incidents:
Assistant Chief Pugel explained that the prime suspect of the Cafe Racer murders has shot himself in West Seattle, less than a mile from the location where the downtown murder suspect abandoned a car this afternoon. That raises the possibility that the same person committed both crimes.
The man had been spotted by undercover officers on the street in West Seattle, Pugel explained. When SWAT officers moved in, the man matching the Cafe Racer suspect's description—similar facial hair, clothes, and build—"apparently knelt down in the middle of the street, put the gun to his head, and shot himself," Pugel said.
Police are considering the possibility that the same person committed both crimes.
SPD Sergeant Sean Whitcomb noted that the first 911 call came in from the Roosevelt neighborhood at 11:00 a.m. and the second call cam from downtown at 11:30 a.m., adding that there is "plenty of time to get from point A to point B. It is entirely possible that it is [one suspect]. We are recognizing that it is within the realm of possibility."
Pugel notes that the proximity is "suspicious."
But police are not treating the crimes are related, necessarily—they are maintaining the manhunt for the downtown shooter.
4:41 p.m. Pugel, at the ongoing City Hall press conference, says the suspect who shot himself in West Seattle is now dead. In addition, Dominic reports:
Assistant Chief Jim Pugel said police now believe that one suspect did indeed commit all the murders. "Unfortunately these are all connected," Pugel said.
While police say the motive for the Roosevelt shooting remains unclear, Pugel said that the downtown shooting was the result of a "random" carjacking by the Cafe Racer shooter.
"We've just done further examination of the suspect, his clothing, and items that he had on him that were visible, and one of the items that witness saw at 8th and Seneca is on him now." That, Pugel said, "combined with similar calibers—different manufacturers, but similar calibers—of ejected shell casings" leads investigators to believe both incidents trace to the same person, Pugel explained. "We now feel confident in connecting the two. We will continue to close that up scientifically."
Police still do not know how the man got from Cafe Racer to 8th and Seneca. The man had many previous addresses, Pugel said, but he didn't know if the man had a criminal record. Pugel said that the witnesses to the Cafe Racer shooting are "extremely traumatized," but interviews are ongoing and police are trying to identify the motive.
4:58 p.m. Jen Graves reports on the condition of the survivors:
Two men remain in critical condition, in the ICU, at Harborview. One was released from surgery about a half hour ago; no surgery is planned for the other. Both are in their 30s/40s. No other information about them was available, according to spokeswoman Susan Greg.
5:11 p.m. The SPD, via its Twitter feed, says:
5:26 The Seattle Times names one of the people shot at Cafe Racer as chef Leonard Meuse, and says he's out of surgery and expected to survive.
5:50 p.m. The SPD now says the suspected shooter is not dead. Rather, he's "still alive and receiving treatment at Harborview Medical Center."