GLORIA LEONIDAS, FACEBOOK PHOTO
It was Wednesday May, 30, 2012. Gloria Leonidas had parked her black Mercedes SUV in the lot behind downtown Seattle's Townhall at 8th Avenue and Seneca Street. It was here that Ian Stawicki found Gloria, and demanded her car. After all, Stawicki had just killed three people at Cafe Racer, in the University District, and had shot two others. He needed a getaway car. Gloria was between this mentally erratic, angry man, and the car he was determined to take. He shot Gloria in the head, gave the middle-finger to people nearby, and sped away in Gloria's Mercedes.
The police tracked Gloria's Mercedes and Ian Stawicki to West Seattle. He knelt down, and shot himself in the head. He was taken to Harborview Hospital where he died. Another of his victims also died at Harborview Hospital. Only one of the victims that Stawicki shot has survived.
A total of six people died that Wednesday in Seattle, for no reason!
Jo Ann Stremler heard Gloria Leonidas scream for help, and she called 9-1-1. Jo Ann Stremler saw it all. Stremler and another Good Samaritan rushed to Gloria's side. They tried to give CPR while they waited for help.
"I didn't think we could save her when we started working on her, but that wasn't the point," Stremler said. "I knew that her family would not have wanted her to die alone."
She held Gloria's hand, "Whoever you are, we are here. You are not alone."
Another bystander heard the shots and rushed to help.
"I ran up to her right away, and there was just a massive pool of blood there," said Jason Yori. "I didn't know anything about her, so I spoke to her as a human being who was in the wrong place at the wrong time."
The Navy veteran said he gave her last rites. "I felt really special to be able to do that - for us to be there when nobody else was there with her," said Yori.
Now I will tell you another side of the story. I live nearby, but that day I was at school. I read on the Internet that there was a shooting at 8th and Seneca. I didn't know what happened until I got home. I was afraid to ride the bus that day.
The view of the Townhall parking lot isn't visible because the trees are heavy and thick with summer leaves. I could see nothing. I asked a couple people, and they had not heard anything. It took a couple days before I realized that the shooting was behind the Townhall.
Yesterday, I walked down the street, and down the ramp into the parking lot. I found the flowers and cards and stuffed animals. A beautiful tribute to a beautiful lady. I couldn't stay long; tears flowed and saddness tore at my heart. I would come back tomorrow, and bring my flowers to add to others. I would honor Gloria Leonidas.
Today, I walked down the street again, and down the ramp into the parking lot where Gloria died. I added my flowers to the memorial. Several people walked by, and stopped to read the cards. I wrote down the words from many of the cards, and will post them below. People wrote such beautiful words for you Gloria. I am sorry that each of us never got to meet you.
To Gloria Leonidas and your family, here are the words from the memorial. Words from people who knew you; words from people who wish they knew you.
"I lost a friend today, a co-worker and a mentor, a person who had taken me under her wing and was my partner in crime... In a senseless carjacking by a cafe murderer who needed a get away car and chose her...she fought, as she would do, and he took her life and presence. Gloria was beautiful, funny, and an incredibly intelligent woman. She was without a doubt the smartest human being I have ever known. I hurt that she's gone and I don't know what to do."
Another tribute is a lovely light green card with a red tulip and a butterfly.
"What a beautiful difference one single life made"
Inside someone wrote, " It breaks my heart to think of everyone Gloria touched in her life. I cannot imagine what her children are going through right now--but find comfort in knowing what a strong, successful woman she was--that so many people will always love and remember Sunshine"
Another message was hard to read, and a couple were a bit smudged from the rain, but the important thing to remember is Gloria knows your kind and loving words. There were more words inside this card showing love for this woman. My apologies for the words I couldn't read.
Patti wrote something touching about Gloria's girls and her husband. "My heart goes out to them at this tragic time. She had a big beautiful heart that will be missed."
With Deepest Sympathy, Lighting Supply
Another card said this on the front (I couldn't read the words inside.)
Now and always may time be your friend
May hope be your refuge
May love be your guide
May peace be your ally
May comfort be your keeper
Another message was hand written, and placed in plastic to protect it from Seattle's rain.
I'm sad to say that I never met you, never had the chance to have coffee or have polite conversation at a local coffee house. Never saw you smile or cry or love. I do know these were gifts taken from you too soon. I hope you knew good people were around and your family should see all good. It's sad you were taken from us in such a violent way. I hope your family heals soon because you are in heaven now. I have sprinkled love over this spot, prayed and cried for you. I walk by every day, in silence, remembrance. Know that you were love. Know that we care. Know that good is all around and know that you can use your angel wings to soar above us all.
your fellow human and friend
I can say no more.
This family has been so terribly hurt, so terribly injured. I posted these messages so someday they may read them, and they may know that we cared, and they may know that not everyone in the world is evil. Most of us are good, caring people, and we feel so bad and so sad about what happened.
Signed: Chomp, June 2, 2012