The gunman accused of killing six people and himself after an all-night party was an invited guest, Seattle police say, a man with no real criminal record described by witnesses as quiet -- almost humble.
But the police believe he was responsible for one of the worst crimes in Seattle's history.
Witnesses describe a scene of sheer terror at a rented house that was the scene of an after-party, with people climbing out of windows and barricading themselves in rooms Saturday to escape gunfire.
Two girls survived by locking themselves in a bathroom. The gunman fired through the door but couldn't get in. Neighbors heard it all.
"There were two shotgun blasts, followed by two lower caliber shots, followed by two shotgun blasts," said neighbor William Lowe.
"At seven in the morning, we received a number of simultaneous 911 calls," said Sgt. Deanna Nollette, a spokeswoman with the Seattle Police Department. "However, an officer on patrol arrived at the scene first. He found two wounded people in front of the house -- at first he couldn't tell whether they were victims of perpetrators -- and then saw the shooter coming around the side of the house with a weapon in his hand."
After the officer began to bark a partial command -- "Drop the…" -- the suspect shot himself in the head, Nollette said.
More than a dozen teenagers and twenty-somethings were in the house -- all dressed as if they were dead for a death-themed party the prior night called a "zombie rave." The rave took place elsewhere before winding down at the house where the shooting occurred.
Police said they found small amounts of alcohol and marijuana at the after-party, but the rave was advertised as prohibiting drugs and ran very smoothly, according to party organizer, Keith Salender.
"These days, a rave is basically any party event where electronic music is played," he said. "Raves have changed a lot over the past decade since I first got involved with them. They used to be a lot less organized, have a lot less security. Now, events like ours have serious security [and] take place in authorized venues that have been checked by fire marshals."
Even so, some parents worry about allowing their children to attend such events.
"She shouldn't have gone to the rave," said Nancy Thorne, whose daughter attended the party, "and I never approved of those things. But it's kind like telling them no and they go anyway."
'Don't Know Who's Hurt, Who's Dead'
Now friends and family are grappling with losing friends and worrying about those they have not heard from.
"It's weird," said Salender. "I know a lot of people who went to the after-party -- but right now I don't know who's hurt, who's dead. There are just so many rumors going around, just a lot of unanswered questions. … I mean, everyone's just in shock."
Witnesses say there was no trouble at all with the gunman -- no arguments, no fights.
Police say he left at 7 a.m. and quietly went to his car. But they say he then he grabbed a 12-gauge pistol-gripped shotgun, a handgun and lots of ammunition -- and returned to the house.
"As everyone knows, a pistol-grip shotgun is designed certainly not for hunting purposes but for hunting people," said Seattle Police Chief Gil Kerlikowske.
On his way, police say the suspect spray painted the word "now" in several spots along the sidewalk -- but they don't know why. Then he started shooting, the authorities add, killing one person on the porch, one at the front door and three in the living room.
"These appeared to be almost execution-style shootings," said Kerlikowske. "He expended a large number of rounds inside that house."
The gunman killed himself when confronted by a police officer who was nearby and arrived very quickly. This city traditionally has an extremely low murder rate -- with just three this year prior to the weekend.