New ticket program will help victims of Caf Racer shooting

SEATTLE -- Seattle suffered through one of its deadliest days six months ago, and the victims of the {A href=""}Caf Racer massacre are still recovering.

Children are learning to live without their mother, and a wife is struggling to pay bills without her husband.

In an effort to help those affected by the horrendous shooting, a new program is launching this week to help the loved ones who were left behind.

The memorials and media attention have faded, but the reality of what happened on May 30 -- when Ian Stawiki opened fire inside the caf -- still stings.

Caf Racer cook Leonard Meuse was there on that awful morning. A bullet to the face cost him most of his teeth, and four of his colorful customers were killed in the shooting rampage.

"Every day, you wake up with it," Meuse said.

The cafe's counter and floors have now been replaced, but a shrine of mementos remains behind to honor musicians Joe Albanese, Drew Keriakedes, Don Largen and aspiring actress Kim Layfield. Stawiki also shot and killed Gloria Leonides, leaving her children to go on without a mother.

"I still think about them every day," said Caf Racer manager Nancy Neyhart. "Six months, it felt like it was yesterday and same time ten years ago."

Local company Brown Paper Tickers wanted to help the relatives left behind. The company is now issuing special tickets to local and national events with illustrations by artists who are regulars at Caf Racer. The tickets also give customers the option of spending an additional 25 cents to go toward the victims' relatives.

On Thursday night, which was once reserved for the music of bandmates Keriakedes and Albanese, Caf Racer will come alive with songs celebrating the launch of the Artist Ticket program.

"We're not doing this thinking it's going to make anything better or fix anything," said Jimmy Berg of Brown Paper Tickets.

Berg and others just want their Caf Racer family to suffer a little less.

"Family covers each other. That's just they they do," Meuse said.

Several bands will perform at Thursday's event and the artists will be on hand to autograph tickets. After 100,000 tickets are sold, Brown Paper Tickets will choose another artist and another cause.