Yesterday afternoon, around the time that presumed mass-shooter Ian Stawicki was being rushed to Harborview with a self-inflicted gunshot wound, reporters across Seattle were busy compiling the barest outlines of his character. Today, the City Attorney's office released its limited rap sheet on Stawicki, which details his concealed weapons permits, details the six firearms—three of them 45-caliber and three of them 9 millimeter—he was known to have registered, and confirms his arrest carrying a switchblade in 2009 and another arrest for domestic violence in 2008.
It's this last report that might be the most useful for people hoping to glean some motivation or rationale behind yesterday's violence. These police reports and victim statements, filed over four years ago, illustrate in bruising colors that Stawicki was indeed mentally ill, violent, and desperately needed help, as his family has suggested.
It started on February 27, 2008, when Stawicki's then-girlfriend of three years stopped by a female friend's house after work. "The suspect had followed the victim and... was enraged that the victim had not come straight home to him," writes responding SPD Officer James Moran in his report. After the visit, the woman returned home to find that Stawicki was "in the process of destroying every single thing in the home that they both identified as belonging to [her]," Moran's report states.
When his girlfriend attempted to dial 911, Stawicki allegedly punched her in the face. "Suddenly, I was on the ground and my nose was bleeding, and Ian had my phone," she wrote in her police statement in tidy all-caps script.
He took her phone "while she was stunned," Moran's report states. A fight ensued. Stawicki reportedly refused to give up the phone and physically restrained the victim from leaving their home. Eventually, she managed to retrieve the phone, escape the house, and lock herself in her van to call for help. Stawicki, meanwhile, "armed himself with a .45-caliber handgun and left the home in a Volvo," according to the report.
When police arrived, they found the victim with puffy eyes and clutching "several paper towels covered in blood."
After a thorough search, police found Stawicki hiding in bushes near the house—at some point, the report concludes, Stawicki had abandoned the car and circled back to the home with the gun. In his hiding place, police discovered a "freshly dug hole" in which he'd buried the gun.
Inside the home, "I saw massive amounts of utterly smashed belongings," wrote Officer Christopher Snyder in a secondary report. "I could identify compact discs, records, mirrors, small art pieces, and clothing, but most of the debris was so completely destroyed that it was not identifiable. All of the living room furniture was pushed against the south wall, and the computer monitor was missing from its living room table."
Sitting prominently on the pile of debris, carefully, deliberately placed in the center, police found "a Miller Beer can with a small, neat, round hole through it," Snyder adds.
As Stawicki's brother has said, and as his girlfriend-victim states to police, he hadn't always been so violently out-of-control.
The change in personality took place in winter 2007. "Starting last winter, he became more violent, breaking my things, losing control of his feelings," she writes in her police statement. "There's no pattern... At this point I'm afraid of him, it's either nothing or really bad."
Stawicki was charged in King County District Court with Malicious Mischief DV—a felony in Washington state if the property damage is over $750. He was also slapped with a no-contact order that prevented him from coming within 500 feet of his victimized girlfriend.
Then, on April 9, 2008, documents show that the victim recanted her previous statements to police. Ian Stawicki never assaulted her that night "or at any other time," she testifies in a signed statement submitted to the court by Stawicki's lawyer. He never punched her. Never hit her in the nose. In fact, she denied ever hand-writing a police statement that said otherwise.
"I suffer from frequent spontaneous nose bleeds and was experiencing such" that night, she writes. Furthermore, Ian Stawicki never took her phone. Never prevented her from calling 911. In fact, she never even called the police. And while she admits he did break some personal property, she insists that the belongings, all told, cost less than $50 to replace.
The statement concludes: "I never wanted or expected Ian Stawicki to be arrested on that date because Mr. Stawicki never assaulted me, never restrained me... Any information contained in any police report to the contrary is false. Any information contained in any statement signed by to the contrary me [sic] is false."
The charges against Mr. Stawicki were subsequently dismissed without prejudice.