Town Hall victim's husband says her struggle with killer helped police



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Posted on June 8, 2012 at 5:22 PM

Updated Friday, Jun 8 at 5:51 PM

The day Gloria Leonidas died, her husband believes she quickly summed up her killer.

"She had this wonderful sixth sense of being able to judge people pretty much within a split second," said Tom Leonidas. "She also had a wonderful gift of not hesitating and knowing what to do."

Witnesses have given several accounts of how Gloria Leonidas fought her attacker.

"I understand at one point she kicked the gun out of his hands, and I would expect nothing else of her," said her husband.

Unfortunately, Ian Stawicki picked up the gun and fired a fatal shot. But the struggle delayed him and drew enough attention for witnesses to see the license plate of the car he stole from her.

"From that information, they were able to turn the vehicle tracking system on, and I think what she did played some maybe even small role in bringing this to a quick end and finding that car, and him," said Tom Leonidas.

On Thursday, Leonidas laid his wife to rest, the mother of his two girls whom he calls the "glue of the family."

"That glue lives on," he said. "I've watched my daughters and how amazingly resilient and strong they've been. Yesterday at the funeral I was the one breaking down and they were the ones consoling me."

Gloria's husband finally visited the place she died. He said the lit memorial and the messages gave him strength.

"One of the things that helped us through this is that we're not grieving alone," he said. "There is a whole city grieving, and we will never truly understand why this happened."

And while he wants answers about the unstable man who killed his wife and four others, the anger he bears for him is contained.

"The man who did this got to choose how he died," said Tom Leonidas. "The other victims didn't. He made that choice for them, which is unjust and not right."

Leonidas calls Seattle police "heroes." He said he plans to visit Cafe Racer, the site of the other shooting, when he's ready.