Widower says Seattle shooting victim gave gunman 'a hell of a fight'

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SEATTLE —

The family of Gloria Leonidas, one of the victims shot and killed in last week’s Seattle shooting rampage, said Friday they believed her fighting until the end helped save lives.

Her widower spoke out Friday for the first time since her death.

“I think I’ve stopped trying to figure out why it happened,” her widower, Tom Leonidas said Friday.

He said he doesn’t think anyone will ever know why his wife was shot and killed 10 days ago.

“It just can’t be rationalized because it was an irrational act,” he said.

Police said Ian Stawicki, a man with a history of mental illness, shot five people – four fatally – at Café Racer in Ravenna, then killed Gloria Leonidas during a carjacking in Seattle’s First Hill neighborhood.

“From everything that I’ve heard, everything I’ve seen, she gave him a hell of a fight,” Tom Leonidas said.

It was that fight, Tom said he believes, that gave bystanders a chance to read the license plate of the SUV he’d stolen. Police used that information to turn on a tracking system in the Mercedes, which led them to West Seattle, where Stawicki was later found. He later shot himself to death.

“She knew exactly what she had to do, and she fought, and I understand at one point, she kicked the gun out of his hands, and I would expect nothing less from her,” Tom Leonidas said.

She was a strong woman, Tom said; the glue that held his family together. He said he continues to see her strength in the resilience of his daughters, 16-year-old Christina and 12-year-old Sophia.

“We’re still this tight unit we’ve always been, even though she’s not physically present,” he said. “If there’s any bit of anger, it’s (that) the man who did this got to choose how he died. The other victims didn’t. He made the choice for them, which was just unjust and not right.”

Tom Leonidas still has questions. He said he still wants to know whether anything could have been done to prevent the tragedy.

But he said he’s not going to focus on that. He’s going to focus on raising his two daughters and making them as successful as they can be.