Cafe Racer anniversary

Exactly one year has passed since an angry and unstable man killed four people at Seattle’s Café Racer and one more woman near downtown before shooting himself. Ian Stawicki was never diagnosed with a mental illness, but he exhibited many of the signs.

When someone is in a mental health crisis, who decides if the or she gets hospitalized involuntarily?

Elaine Thompson / Associated Press

For Walt Stawicki, the past year has been one of grieving and what-ifs. Exactly one year ago, his 40-year-old son Ian Stawicki, killed himself in West Seattle after fatally shooting five people, including four at Café Racer.

Stawicki is pleased the Legislature passed a law making it easier to commit someone involuntarily for psychiatric care. He says he and his wife struggled to find the right care for their son, especially after they took a trip and noticed their son had deteriorated.  

Mental illness resources

May 30, 2013

If you live in King County, and you're concerned about a friend or relative's mental state, check out this county website which lists signs that someone needs mental health services as well as where to call. Between 8:30 am and 4:30 pm, you can call 206-263-9200. Any time outside of those hours, call the Crisis Clinic at 206-461-3222.

Elaine Thompson / Associated Press

May 30, 2012 was a beautiful, sunny day. It was also the day when residents and students in North Seattle were told to stay indoors as police searched for the gunman who had opened fire inside a busy café.

When it was all over, five people had been shot dead and the gunman had taken his own life. 

The violence began at Cafe Racer, on the northern edge of Seattle's University District.