Violent photos terrify woman

LYNNWOOD — The memories of a March morning almost two years ago still haunt a Lynnwood woman. Five of her friends died when gunman Kyle Huff opened fire at an after-hours party on Seattle’s Capitol Hill.

Huff killed six before turning the gun on himself.

On Thursday, an Edmonds man with a history of mental illness was jailed for allegedly sending the woman harassing e-mails that included photos of people who had been shot in the head at close range, the same way her friends died, according to court documents.

“It’s very cruel,” said Jenny Wieland Ward, executive director of Everett-based Families and Friends of Violent Crime Victims. “She had friends who were murdered in one of the most horrific mass murders in the history of Puget Sound. It’s not uncommon for survivors of murder victims to be triggered by graphic photos.”

The suspect, 37, and the woman, 31, were former roommates who had departed on “unfriendly terms,” the documents said. The man knew that the woman, who is also disabled, suffers “severe emotional” problems as a result of the Capitol Hill massacre.

The man told police he takes medicine for multiple mental problems and often drinks alcohol to excess, the documents said.

On Sunday, he allegedly sent the woman two disturbing e-mails. One contained a message expressing his anger, and suggested the woman may unleash an “invisible army of ninja warriors” to kill him. The other e-mail included six photos of men and women being executed. Two photographs depicted deaths reminiscent of the way the woman’s friends were killed in Seattle and the man knew that, the documents said.

“This e-mail that the suspect sent to her really just brought it all back, so much so that she had to go to the hospital,” Lynnwood police spokeswoman Shannon Sessions said.

Seeing photos of real crime scenes can be terrifying, Wieland Ward said.

“Reality photos are much more graphic than what you would see on TV or in the movies. It is so much more horrific than what you see in the media,” she said. Receiving the e-mails at home likely added to the woman’s trauma, Wieland Ward said.

The man told police he couldn’t remember sending the messages, and suggested he could have sent them during a blackout brought on by alcohol or medicine.

He was booked Thursday for investigation of felony cyberstalking, Sessions said. The law against cyberstalking was passed by the state Legislature in 2004. It makes harassment by e-mail illegal.

It’s good that police are pursuing people that commit Internet crimes, Wieland Ward said.

“More and more the Internet is used to victimize people — whether it’s to children or adults — people are finding ways to use it in a destructive manner,” she said.

Reporter Jackson Holtz: 425-339-3437 or jholtz@heraldnet.com.

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