Confirming what seemed all but certain this afternoon during a surreal press conference, Seattle police have now gone on record saying the same man was behind both of this morning's tragic shootings.
In what was a strange and hectic scene, both Seattle Assistant Police Chief James Pugel and Mayor Mike McGinn learned at the same time the media did this afternoon, during a well-attended press conference at City Hall, that the suspected shooter in at least one of this morning's senseless murders, at Cafe Racer in the University District in which three people died, had knelt in the center of the street and turned the gun on himself rather than face cops closing in on him. At the time the shooter had not yet been identified as Stawicki.
This surveillance photo was distributed to the media at the time.
Shortly after the press conference, in a determination that had been foreshadowed but not confirmed at the time, police determined that the same person was behind the shooting at Cafe Racer and the murder and carjacking that took place a half-hour later in the Town Hall parking lot on First Hill.
Police issued this statement about what law enforcement knows at this point via the agency's SPD blotter blog:
The suspect in a series of fatal shootings at a north Seattle cafe and First Hill parking lot shot himself after officers confronted him on a quiet street in West Seattle Wednesday afternoon.
The man's violent rampage began around 11am this morning, when police received reports of gunfire from Cafe Racer on NE 59th Street and Roosevelt Way NE. When officers arrived, they found five gunshot victims inside. Two men died at the scene, and medics rushed two men and one woman to Harborview in critical condition. The female victim died at the hospital several hours later.
Following the cafe shooting, SWAT, robbery and homicide detectives, crime scene investigators and patrol officers spread out across the city looking for the suspect, following up on a number of tips and 911 calls about sightings of the gunman.
It appears that about 30 minutes after the shooting at the cafe, the suspect in the cafe shooting fled to First Hill, where he fatally shot a woman in a parking lot, and stole her SUV.
The suspect then drove the SUV to West Seattle, where he ditched the vehicle, leaving a gun in the car.
After officers found the SUV near Delridge Way SW and SW Dakota Street, SPD flooded the area with uniformed and undercover officers.
Just after 4pm, a plainclothes officer spotted the suspect near 36th Avenue and SW Morgan Street, and called for backup. As uniformed officers approached the suspect, he knelt down to the ground, and shot himself. Medics rushed the man to Harborview for treatment.
Based on evidence recovered during today's investigations, SPD believes a lone suspect is responsible the murders in Roosevelt and First Hill. Still, neighbors should expect to see a heightened police presence as detectives work to confirm links between the two tragic incidents.
UPDATE: As noted above, the Seattle Times and others report that Stawicki died Wednesday night at Harborview.
We'll update this post as more news becomes available.