AMIDST BULLETS FLYNG, MAN IN SEATTLE CAFÉ SAVES LIVES WITH QUICK ACTION
June 01, 2012
(SEATTLE, WA) -- He, along with other patrons in Café Racer in Seattle Wednesday, was suddenly in the middle of a hail of bullets flying everywhere before he knew what was what.
Photo of deceased Café Racer shooting suspect Ian L. Stawicki, 40 of Ellensburg.CLICK TO ENLARGE
And police are now crediting that man – who they have identified by first name only, Lawrence – as one who saved lives that day with his quick defensive action after a lone gunman started shooting and killing people.
Yesterday Lawrence told police what he saw happen inside the café Wednesday and also explained how another tragic loss in his life led him to fight the gunman with only a bar stool.
Lawrence, who says he’s been getting his morning coffee at Café Racer for “the last few years,” was sitting in the cafe when an Ian L. Stawicki, 40, of Ellensburg walked through the door just before 11 am.
“Just before it happened, I was looking at [Stawicki] He’d just been told he was 86’d [from the café] in a very polite manner.”
Lawrence says he looked down at his phone for a moment, and then, he says, “I hear the pop, pop, and people scrambling. I couldn’t make sense of it. I didn’t expect the gun to be that quiet. I thought ‘this is really happening.’ As Stawicki opened fire in the café, Lawrence, grabbed a bar stool and used it to try to fight off Stawicki and defend his friends.
HIS BROTHER HAD DIED IN THE 911 ATTACKS
“I just threw the frigging stool at him, legs first,” he says. “My brother died in the World Trade Center. I promised myself,” if something like this ever happened, “I would never hide under a table.”
Stawicki, Lawrence says, “looked at me like he didn’t [care] at all. He just moved towards the rear of the bar instead of dealing with me at all, and I just brushed past him. He was on a mission to kill my friends.”
“I wasn’t a hero,” Lawrence says, pointing out that a café employee, who was wounded in the shooting, was able to call 911 and “lucidly” give police information about the shooting. “He’s the hero,” Lawrence says.
Now, Lawrence is trying to recover from Wednesday’s tragic events. “Yesterday I was all adrenaline,” he says. “Today, My friends are dead. I’m just grieving right now.”
Lawrence agreed to release that statement through the Seattle Police Department but says he’s not ready to do interviews with the media right now.
He wants privacy as he grieves for his friends.
THOSE WHO WERE KILLED
Those who were killed by the gunman were identified as Drew Keriakedes and Joseph Vito Albanese, both members of the band God's Favorite Beefcake.
Both men were inside the café that morning, both lost their lives.
Two others victims of the shooting, Kimberly Layfield and Don Largen died later at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle. Both were regular customers at the cafe.
The lone survivor of the café shooting, Leonard Meuse, has been upgraded from critical to serious condition at Harborview Medical Center although he was still in the intensive care unit of the hospital Thursday.
HALF HOUR AFTER CAFE SHOOTINGS, BELLEVUE WOMAN DIES FIGHTING SUSPECT
Some thirty minutes after the shooting at Café Racer, police say Stawicki shot Gloria Leonidas, 52, of Bellevue near city hall downtown in a car jacking; he was trying to steal her Mercedes SUV, police say.
But police said she fought with her attacker and was able to knock the gun from Stawicki's hand. But he managed to pick it up and shoot and kill her, and then sped away in her vehicle.
Jim Pugel, chief of detectives with Seattle police, said at a news conference Thursday that Stawicki sometime later contacted an old acquaintance of his in West Seattle who was not aware of the shootings.
The acquaintance later told officers that the suspect was acting erratically and talking nonsense, so he broke off contact with him.
The acquaintance learned of the shootings sometime after that and also saw surveillance photos of the suspect taken inside Cafe Racer and he then called police and told them about his contact with Stawicki.
A little more than a half hour later the suspect was spotted by a plainclothes officer who then called in other officers and as they moved in on Stawicki he knelt down, put the gun to his head and killed himself, said Pugel.
GUNS USED IN THE ATTACK & AUDIO FROM 911 CALLS
The audio from the 911 calls about the shootings Wednesday have been made available online by the Seattle Police Department and can be listened to here
During the news conference Pugel said they had determined that suspect Stawicki had used two guns in the attack - both .45-caliber semi-automatics. He did not say where Stawicki got those guns but later Thursday KING-TV in Seattle reported that investigators had traced the guns through a federal database and discovered Stawicki purchased handguns earlier this year at Bullseye Shooter Supply in Tacoma and that the sale appeared to legal because Stawicki had no felonies or other restrictions to buy firearms.
Bullseye was in national news in 2002 due to a gun connection to the famous D.C. sniper murders that left 10 people dead.
It was discovered that Bushmaster brand assault-type rifle that John Muhammed and Lee Malvo killed people with came from Bullseye.