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May 31, 2012 at 2:33 PM

Gunman’s father: ‘We knew he had issues’

Ian Stawicki woke up yesterday morning in a good mood with plans to drive to Tacoma to help his girlfriend move her mother to another home. But first, he was going to stop for coffee, according to his father, Walter Stawicki.

Ian Stawicki, seen in a 2008 booking photo

It wasn’t until later in the day that the Stawicki family turned on the television and learned the news. Like many people in Seattle, Walter Stawicki was riveted to reports that two gunmen were attacking people without reason, first at a coffee shop in the University District and later in downtown. But when images of the coffee shop gunman were broadcast, the Stawicki family recognized the man as Ian.

Stawicki, 40, was identified by family and law-enforcement officials as the man who shot five people just before 11 a.m. at Cafe Racer Espresso in the University District. Four of the cafe shooting victims died.  A fifth victim was fatally shot near Town Hall in downtown Seattle.

Walking around his Green Lake neighborhood this afternoon, Walter Stawicki talked freely about his eldest son. He said his son has been plagued by mental illness since he was in his 20s.

Ian Stawicki, who was unemployed, grew up in South Seattle, attended several alternative schools and joined the Army after obtaining his GED at the age of 17. After a two-year stint in the military, Stawicki became more angry and eccentric, each year his personality seemed to change for the worse. In recent months, he frequently had bouts of anger and eccentricity – telling his girlfriend that he was actually married and the father of six and telling others that he was actually a CIA agent.

“He wasn’t a loose cannon. We knew he had issues,” Stawicki said. “We were more afraid a trucker would come at him with a fist because he was so provocative.”

Stawicki often lived with his parents, caring for his ailing mother, Carol. The rest of the time his family believed that he stayed with his girlfriend. Stawicki loved to read and liked guns; his father said that has had a concealed weapons permit for the last 20 years.

Though Walter Stawicki witnessed his son’s mental illness episodes, he wasn’t afraid of the man owning or carrying firearms. He said that the man never threatened them.

“I’m grieving for him, I’m grieving for his mother, I’m grieving for his brother,” Stawicki said. “I’m grieving for six other families.”

Comments | More in The Blotter | Topics: Cafe Racer, downtown shooting, Roosevelt shooting

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