Further Update ~ Thursday a.m., the death toll was increased to a total of six. A man walked into an arts cafe near a Seattle university and opened fire, fatally wounding four people. Then he later killed a woman during a carjacking before shooting himself. Six people are dead.
Breaking Update ~ The LA Times is reporting late on Wednesday the following:
An explosive day of violence ended Wednesday when a man believed to be the one who shot five people in a university district cafe and a woman in a downtown parking lot knelt down in the street when surrounded by police and shot himself in the head.A police source told the Seattle Times that the suspect has been identified as Ian Lee Stawicki, 40, of Seattle, whose family said he had mental problems that prompted them to fear something could go wrong.
“We strongly believe that this is the person that committed the homicides,” Assistant Police Chief Jim Pugel told reporters after the dramatic face-off in West Seattle. The shootings left four people dead and two critically injured.
Victims identified: Drew a/k/a Shmootzi the Clod, (front) & Joe Albanese, a/k/a Meshuguna Joe, (back left) of God's Favorite Beefcake. Image via God's Favorite Beefcake's Facebook.
A gunman opened fire at a cafe in Seattle's University district Wednesday, May 30, 2012, killing two people and wounding three others.
"Roosevelt way shooter was seen running away from the scene northbound," police wrote. "He was armed with a gun."
One victim has life threatening injuries, and two others are seriously wounded, according to the police department's Twitter feed.
The shootings occurred at Cafe Racer on Roosevelt Way in northern Seattle about 11:00 a.m., police said.
The suspect is described as a white male, between 30 and 40 years old, with a medium build, brown hair and a goatee or beard, police said. Police are searching for the gunman, described as a man in his 30s originally said to be wearing dark clothes (literally a "man in black killer"?), that did not turn out to be accurate. Later reports told of the killer having a plaid shirt and dark pants. (Recall that John A. Keel often wrote of mystery men, besides those dressed in black and dark clothing, who were often seen wearing lumberjack checked shirts and sports plaid shirts.)
But video footage show the suspected killer in the middle of the shooting scene wearing brown pants and a bluish jacket (see above).
During the manhunt, police responded to another fatal shooting in downtown Seattle. Police say a man shot a woman during an apparent carjacking and fled in a black SUV. The woman died at the scene.
The earlier shooting took place at Cafe Racer (Roosevelt Way Northeast), a restaurant and music venue north of the University of Washington.
Friends of the deceased said the men, named Joe and Drew, were both in their 40s or early 50s. Drew was described as the “godfather of Café Racer” who was a sword swallower, fire breather and was a big presence in the burlesque community. Both men were members of the band God’s Favorite Beefcake, which had played at the Folklife Festival on Saturday.
Police say one of the wounded has life threatening injuries and two are in critical condition.
Evan Hill, who lives above the building were the cafe shooting happened, said the cafe was an artists collective and performance space.
"Its the strangest place to think of a shooting," Hill said.
Nearby Roosevelt High School has been locked down during the manhunt. Seattle School District spokeswoman Teresa Wippel says students also are locked inside Eckstein Middle School and Greenlake Elementary.
The location of the Cafe Racer on Roosevelt Way reminds me of the recent site (Roosevelt Avenue) of the bank hostage situation in Indiana, which only ended when the suspect killed himself.