Seattle - When Ian Stawicki started shooting at a Seattle cafe in a spree rampage that would leave him and five others dead, one man stood up and tried to stop him by hurling coffeehouse stools at the gunman, police said on Thursday.
A day after the shootings in the Cafe Racer, police said the actions of that man - whom they are not naming - ultimately saved three lives and were a bright spot in a violent series of events that ended when Stawicki shot himself in the head.
Seattle Assistant Police Chief Jim Pugel described the shooting, which was caught on video, as erupting seemingly without warning amid typical mid-morning coffeehouse activity.
"Some folks are reading, others are sipping coffee, they are jocular, they are exchanging conversation, then the person comes in, looks around, sits down, you can see there's some interaction between him and the barista," Pugel said.
"One person stands up, looks like he's going to go outside for a minute. At that point, the suspect stands up and starts shooting."
Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn has said the killing spree, following a recent rash of other shootings, had shaken the city and he urged fellow municipal leaders to "bring an end to this gun violence that the city is seeing."
But Pugel said "there is a hero" who saved lives, describing him as a man sitting next the gunman who intervened when the shooting happened at the coffee house known for its live music in Seattle's Ravenna neighborhood.
"The hero picked up a stool and threw it at the suspect, hit him, picked up another stool as the suspect is shooting, and now pointing at him, and hits him with another stool," he said.
Pugel did not name the man.
"During that time, two or possibly three people made their escape," Pugel said, adding that the gunman had been between those people and the door. "So he saved three lives."