By now, we’ve probably all heard about the horrifying Seattle mass murder May 30 at the coffee shop Cafe Racer, in which 40-year-old Ian Stawicki took five lives plus his own. Shortly after the tragedy, however, details emerged from Seattle police that indicated the actions of one man may have stopped the homicidal maniac from taking any more lives.
According to the Seattle Weekly, a man identified only by his first name, Lawrence, told the Seattle Police Department that he had noticed Stawicki being asked to leave by the barista. According to police reports, Stawicki had previously been banned from the cafe. Police say Stawicki — a licensed concealed-carrier with a history of mental health issues — then walked up behind a man who was leaving, pulled one of his two .45-caliber handguns and shot the man in the back of the head before opening fire on the rest of the cafe.
In a statement to the police, Lawrence said:
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.
“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.”
Four people in the cafe — Drew Keriakedes, 45, Joe “Vito” Albanese, 52, Kimberly Layfield, 38, and Donald Largen, 57 — had been fatally shot, and a fifth victim — a 52-year-old mother of two named Gloria Koch Leonidas — was killed as Stawicki stole her car. He later took his own life as he was confronted by police, ending the horrifying ordeal.
Despite his heroic actions, Lawrence told police he wasn’t the real hero during the ordeal, instead pointing to the wounded cafe employee who dialed 911, “lucidly” giving the police giving police information about the shooting.
Though regarded as a hero — as well he should be — Lawrence told police he is still recovering from the incident, and requesting privacy before he can give a public statement.
“Yesterday I was all adrenaline,” he said. “Today, My friends are dead. I’m just grieving right now.”