ALBANY, Ga. — An Albany native residing in Seattle was fatally shot Wednesday by a gunman who also murdered five others during his rampage.
Part of a group of artists and musicians who gathered often at Cafe Racer Espresso, Kimberly Layfield was among friends at the cafe when 40-year-old Ian L. Stawicki entered and began shooting people at about 11 a.m., according to seattletimes.com.
Stawicki reportedly left the cafe, killed another woman and took her SUV. When police closed in, he put his gun to his head and killed himself.
“We are sorry for all the families of the people who died,” said Layfield’s aunt, Sheilah Holland, of Baconton. “We are sorry for Ian Stawicki’s family also. No one understands what mental illness is all about.”
After leaving a dental assistant’s job in Seattle, 38-year-old Layfield dreamed of becoming an actress. She had second billing in a 2011 independent production of “Hot Rod Girls Save the World.”
The movie was shown at Slim’s Last Chance Chili Shack, another Seattle arts crowd gathering place.
“She loved going to that cafe. She was so fun-loving, vivacious and vibrant; she fit in,” said Holland. “She lived in Seattle for 10 years and was in with an arts crowd.”
Layfield returned to Seattle Monday after spending three weeks at home with family and friends, Holland said. The time included celebrating her grandmother Freda Cochran’s 103rd birthday.
The return to Seattle reunited Layfield with her four cats, said Michele Townsend, a friend since first grade.
“We were best friends for 32 years. We went through all the things you do when growing up together,” Townsend said. “She loved her cats, especially Bernie. She just got a new kitten that she found in the snow.”
The news of her death was hard on Layfield’s family. Holland said she saw the shooting on the news and called everyone in Layfield’s neighborhood to find out what happened.
“We finally got the mayor’s office,” Holland said. “They confirmed it was Kim.”
No funeral arrangements have been made, Holland said.