Family: Seattle gunman had a concealed weapon permit
SEATTLE - The gunman accused of killing five people in cold blood Wednesday had a concealed weapon permit even though he was becoming noticeably more volatile over time, his father said.
Walt Stawacki, the father of accused killer Ian Stawicki, says he knew his son was troubled, but there was nothing the family could do to get the concealed carry permit revoked.
"The response to us was, there's nothing we can do, he's not a threat to himself or others, or we haven't had a report of it, or we haven't had to pick him up - call us when its worse," Walt Stawicki said in a Thursday morning interview with KOMO News in Seattle.
"And now it's too late - much worse now, six people are dead."
Walt Stawicki did not specify which agency refused to revoke the permit, or which agency had issued it in the first place.
The disclosure was one of several Ian Stawacki's father made as he tried to paint a fuller picture of his troubled son, who was unemployed and hadn't held a job in several years.
Walt Stawicki said his son had joined the Army in 1989 or 1990, serving for a time at Fort Drum in upstate New York before he was discharged as unsuitable for the military. He suffered an acute hearing loss when a grenade exploded during a training exercise during his short stint in the Army.
A few years after his discharge, Ian Stawicki started collecting guns, but his family thought he had given that up in recent years - though they knew he still carried a concealed weapon.
He worked some odd jobs for a time, but in recent years he had been an unemployed transient.
"He went out and saw friends, walked around, read books, tended the garden with his mother, had a girlfriend," says Walt Stawicki.
As the years went by, Ian Stawicki was becoming more and more volatile and argumentative - but he never harmed anyone or threatened his family, says his father.
"He wasn't getting more and more violent. He was getting easier to get mad," says his father. "But we never thought that he would go cold like this and turn into a killer."
If he had showed signs of violence earlier, the father says, the family might have been able to do something.
"We've been hoping and praying that something minor would happen enough to allow an intervention to happen," Walt Stawicki said.
The father last spoke with his troubled son on the morning before the shootings - and says he sounded just fine.
"He was care-taking his mother, who is ill," Walt Stawicki said. "There was a lilt to his voice, it sounded like a good day. I said I'd be down later."
A few hours after that, when he saw the surveillance camera images on TV, Walt Stawicki realized it was his son who was suspected of killing four people in cold blood at Cafe Racer in the University District.
Later, he learned that another woman had been shot to death at Eighth Avenue and Seneca Street, and that his son had finally killed himself as police officers approached.
"There were six victims yesterday - not five," says Ian Stawicki's father. "That's the thing I want people to go away with. He was the final victim, he was a victim by his own gun, and all the other people were victims by his own gun - I'm not trying to diminish that."
KOMO is KATU's sister-station in Seattle