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Monday, July 17, 2006 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Mass killer Huff stalked rave community, panel reports

Seattle Times staff reporters

A panel looking into the Capitol Hill mass slaying has found that a depressed and lonely Kyle Huff spent the final weeks of his life stalking the rave community.

Fueled by the belief that he had been rejected by ravers, the 28-year-old Seattle man scoured the Web for information about rave girls and Ecstasy. He sought information about upcoming shows, the panel has determined.

Early on the morning of March 25, Huff was invited to an after-rave party at a home at 2112 E. Republican St. on Capitol Hill. He left the party shortly after 7 a.m., then returned minutes later with a shotgun and handgun and opened fire, killing six people. Huff committed suicide when confronted by police.

During a community meeting tonight on Capitol Hill, Seattle Police Chief Gil Kerlikowske planned to join the panel of four crime experts hired to investigate why Huff caused one of the largest massacres in city history. The allegation that Huff's depression and anger at the rave community had caused him to lash out was included in a 35-page report released tonight by the panel.

The findings say that Huff may have been attracted to the rave scene as a way to generate friends in a city where he felt alone. But when he didn't fit in, Huff grew angry.

Being unemployed, Huff spent a lot of time alone. Much of this time was spent "obsessing with the perceived dangers associated with the rave community and rave culture," the report says.

Before the shootings, Huff reportedly spray-painted the word "NOW" on the sidewalk near the house. The panel believes it may have derived from a frequent "now, now, now, now" refrain in the song "I Want to Know Now" by Nirvana, one of Huff's favorite bands.

Other findings of the report include:

• The mass shooting reflected planning, not a sudden eruption of rage. Huff's actions were deliberate and methodical, not episodic.

• There was no evidence of a simple explanation for Huff's behavior. The massacre did not appear to be the result of media imitation, drug inhalation or neurological abnormality, although his self-inflicted head wound eliminated any opportunity to examine Huff's brain during an autopsy.

• In many respects typical of mass murderers, Huff's actions reflected the long-term and cumulative effects of frustration and isolation, combined with externalization of blame or scapegoating.

• Spending day after day alone, unemployed and separated from friends and family back in Montana, Huff's depression, fueled by his directionless and relatively unsuccessful life, was funneled into an obsession with the perceived dangers associated with the rave community and rave culture.

• Before his psychological downward spiral, Huff was considered by those who knew him in Montana as kind, friendly and happy. Indeed, he was happy when surrounded by his network of support. Yet his mood and state of mind in Seattle, where he hardly knew anyone except his twin brother, Kane, was clearly different.

• To those who knew Huff well, his murderous behavior was uniformly seen as uncharacteristic. Without question, there were no clear warning signs that could have been observed, even by his twin brother.

James Alan Fox, a criminal-justice professor at Northeastern University in Boston, chaired the panel that studied the slayings. He visited with witnesses in Seattle and traveled to Huff's hometown of Whitefish, Mont., from which Huff and his twin brother left in January.

During an interview last month, Fox said Huff had perceived ravegoers as "evil" and "disruptive."

Also on the panel are Ann Burgess, a professor at Boston College; Jack Levin, a professor at Northeastern University; and Marleen Wong, the director of Los Angeles Unified School District's Crisis Counseling and Intervention Services.

Jennifer Sullivan: 206-464-8294 or jensullivan@seattletimes.com

Copyright © 2006 The Seattle Times Company

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