Police: 2 shootings in Seattle connected; suspect killed himself; 5 dead, 1 wounded

May 30, 2012

The two morning shootings in Seattle – leaving four dead and one wounded from the Cafe Racer Espresso on Roosevelt Way near the U-District and one dead on First Hill during a carjacking – were apparently committed by the same suspect, said Seattle Police Department Assistant Chief James Pugel.

The suspect shot himself in West Seattle later in the afternoon as police approached him, Pugel said. He was taken to Harborview Medical Center. The hospital reported Wednesday night that he was dead. A fourth victim at the Cafe Racer shooting also died Wednesday night, according to Harborview Medical Center spokeswoman Susan Greg.

One man wounded in the cafe shooting remained at Harborview. He was in critical but stable condition following surgery earlier in the day

“When the officers and SWAT started vectoring in on the suspect, the suspect saw the uniformed officers, he apparently knelt down in the middle of the street, and put the gun to his head and shot himself,” Pugel said.

Suspect in both shootings

Pugel said an item found on the suspect in the Roosevelt Way shooting – after police chased him into West Seattle – was also reported by witnesses at the First Hill scene. He also said the caliber of weapon used in both shootings was similar.

"One of the items that witnesses saw at 8th and Seneca is on him now. So that, combined with similar calibers – different manufacturers, but similar calibers – of ejected shell casings at both scenes, combined with the independent witnesses at 8th and Seneca who said that he definitely had this particular item with him, we now feel confident in connecting the two" shootings, he said.

The Seattle Times and other media report that law enforcement sources have identified the suspect as Ian Lee Stawicki, 40, of Seattle. The suspect’s brother tells the Times that Ian was mentally ill and "we could see this coming" because of his anger.

A troubled city

The killings were the latest in a string of shootings that has shaken the city of Seattle. The five deaths on Wednesday brought the number of homicides to 21 this year, the same number killed in all of last year.

At an afternoon press conference, Mayor Mike McGinn lamented the outbreak of violence that has in recent weeks left two victims dead and one wounded in three separate instances of stray bullets fired in public places. Now, four more are dead and two wounded.

McGinn started the press conference with a call to create a "strategy to end to the wave of gun violence." He said the city would focus on violent offenders who might have guns and examine gun laws to combat the violence.

"We have a police force that is committed to addressing it. We have a community that I believe won’t stand for it and we have to work together to start getting at the underlying causes as well as identifying violent offenders and arresting those that commit crimes," the mayor said.

The Seattle Police Department's official rundown of the day's events:

The suspect in a series of fatal shootings at a north Seattle cafe and First Hill parking lot shot himself after officers confronted him on a quiet street in West Seattle Wednesday afternoon.

The man’s violent rampage began around 11am this morning, when police received reports of gunfire from Cafe Racer on NE 59th Street and Roosevelt Way NE. When officers arrived, they found five gunshot victims inside. Two men died at the scene, and medics rushed two men and one woman to Harborview in critical condition. The female victim died at the hospital several hours later.

Following the cafe shooting, SWAT, robbery and homicide detectives, crime scene investigators and patrol officers spread out across the city looking for the suspect, following up on a number of tips and 911 calls about sightings of the gunman.

It appears that about 30 minutes after the shooting at the cafe, the suspect in the cafe shooting fled to First Hill, where he fatally shot a woman in a parking lot, and stole her SUV.

The suspect then drove the SUV to West Seattle, where he ditched the vehicle, leaving a gun in the car.

After officers found the SUV near Delridge Way SW and SW Dakota Street, SPD flooded the area with uniformed and undercover officers.

Just after 4pm, a plainclothes officer spotted the suspect near 36th Avenue and SW Morgan Street, and called for backup. As uniformed officers approached the suspect, he knelt down to the ground, and shot himself. Medics rushed the man to Harborview for treatment.

Based on evidence recovered during today’s investigations, SPD believes a lone suspect is responsible the murders in Roosevelt and First Hill. Still, neighbors should expect to see a heightened police presence as detectives work to confirm links between the two tragic incidents.

Below are the story updates as they happened throughout the day:

Update at 4:23 p.m.: Seattle Police Dept. Assistant Chief James Pugel, after reporting the suspected in the Roosevelt Way shooting had shot himself in the street near the Highpoint neighborhood in West Seattle, said officers were in the area because of the vehicle taken just after a woman on First Hill had been killed.

“The detectives were already down in that area because of the car that had been stolen in the carjacking robbery. Again, highly suspicious, it could be related. We do not connect those right now. We’re not saying we won’t, but we re not going to jump to conclusions. We can’t,” Pugel said.

About the suspect's self-inflicted gunshot wound, Pugel said: “When the officers and SWAT started vectoring in on the suspect, the suspect saw the uniformed officers, he apparently knelt down in the middle of the street, and put the gun to his head and shot himself.”

Update at 4:12 p.m.: Assistant Chief James Pugel reported at the press conference that that the suspect in the Roosevelt Way shooting died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

SPD tweeted: "Suspect in n. sea shootings shot himself near 37th and Sw Raymond this afternoon."

Update at 3:45 p.m.: Mayor Mike McGinn started the press conference with a call to bring an "end to the wave of gun violence" that has stricken the city of Seattle. He said the city would focus on violent offenders with access to guns and gun laws to combat the violence.

Assistant Chief James Pugel reiterated the information already released on the shootings and added that police have not discovered a motive for the shootings.

Update at 3:33 p.m.: Seattle police have obtained photos of the suspect in today’s shooting in north Seattle. 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

Update at 2:48 p.m.: City officials will hold a press conference at 3:30 p.m. at City Hall to discuss the shootings. Mayor Mike McGinn, Councilman Bruce Harrell, Deputy Chief Nick Metz and Assistant Chief James Pugel will be at the meeting.

From AP: The three deaths bring the number of homicides to 19 this year, compared to 21 in all of last year. The latest spasm of deadly gun violence to hit the city in recent weeks has worried Seattle's leaders and prompted police to consider increasing patrols in high-crime areas.

Update at 2:31 p.m.: Seattle police have confirmed that an additional victim from the Roosevelt shooting has died. That makes three dead at that shooting with two wounded. The woman shot on First Hill in a parking lot has also died.

Two shootings have rattled Seattle this morning -- and two gunmen are on the loose.

In the first incident, three are dead and two wounded in a shooting on Roosevelt Way near the University District. The second shooting on First Hill has left a woman dead after being shot in the head.

Police are investigating whether the two shootings are related.

Seattle Police Department officials said in press conference that the man and woman had been seen arguing before the shooting on First Hill. The altercation became physical, assistant chief Mike Sanford said, and the man pulled a gun and shot the woman in the head. He then fled the scene in a black Mercedes SUV.

The Roosevelt Way shooting occurred around 11 a.m. Seattle police reported in its blog that several people called 911 and reported hearing gunfire coming from Cafe Racer at NE 58th Street and Roosevelt Way NE.

Officers arrived on scene and found five people down inside the business.

Medics arrived immediately, but were unable to save two men, who died at the scene. Two additional men and one woman were rushed to Harborview in critical condition.

The suspect in the shooting is a white male, 6’1, very thin, with curly light brown hair, wearing a white and brown plaid shirt and dark pants. Police believe he is armed and dangerous.

There is currently a heavy police presence in the University District, with K9, SWAT, Homicide detectives, crime scene investigators, and patrol officers all in the area working on the case and searching for the suspect.

As a precaution, area residents should keep their doors and windows locked, and to call police if you find any indications someone has tried to break in to your home.

We will provide updated information about this case as soon as it’s available.

If you have any information about this case or the suspect, please call 911.

Suspects at large

Both suspects are still at large and witnesses have provided different physical descriptions at both scenes. Both are white males in their 30s. The shooter in the Roosevelt Way shooting is reported to have brown curly hair with a beard or goatee. The shooter on First Hill is reported to have a blond crewcut.

The woman shot in the carjacking near the intersection of Seneca Street and 8th Avenue at around 11:30 has died, police report. The car has been recovered in West Seattle, and Delridge Way has been shut down as police hunt for the suspect going door to door.

Here is the departments current report on the possible carjacking shooting:

On May 29th, at approximately 11:30 am, Seattle Police responded to a report of a female who had been shot and was down in the parking lot at 8th Avenue and Seneca Street.  This is in the parking lot just west of  Town Hall.   

Initial witness reports stated that a man and woman were in an argument and that the male then pulled out a handgun and shot the woman in the head. 

The male suspect then jumped into a black Mercedes SUV and drove away eastbound on Seneca. Officers arrived quickly and began CPR on the victim until relieved by Seattle Fire Department medics. The victim was transported to Harborview Medical Center where she was later pronounced dead.  Detectives from Homicide and CSI responded to the scene and have begun their investigation.

At approximately 12:00 pm, the black Mercedes SUV was located unoccupied in the 4100 Block of Delridge Way SW. A handgun was visible inside that vehicle.  Detectives are applying for a search warrant for that vehicle now.    Officers are currently searching for the suspect.  Unfortunately at this time we do not have a better description of the suspect other than white male.   Anyone with information on this suspect is asked to immediately call 911.

There was been speculation that this shooting may have been linked to the earlier shooting on Roosevelt Way NE.  At this point, we just don’t know.  Detectives are exploring every possibility. 

Again, anyone with any information on either of these incidents is urged to contact Seattle Police. These are active and ongoing investigations, and we will update new information as it becomes available.