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Family: Seattle Shooting Suspect Had Life Shaken Up by Gun Violence

Hemera/Thinkstock(SEATTLE) -- Those who know Carolyn Piksa say she hadn’t been herself lately.

Piksa, a Seattle Parks employee, is accused of shooting Bill Keller, 65, the executive director of the Associated Recreation Council, inside a Seattle Parks maintenance building last Friday.

“A lot of events … have led up to this situation,” Piksa’s nephew, Cody Shearer, told ABC News’ Seattle affiliate KOMO-TV.

Shearer said his aunt’s life was rocked when her sister and brother-in-law were murdered in 1985, and again in July 2012 after burglars shot her dog, Roulette.

“She started to develop paranoia and she expressed to me that she felt unsafe in her home,” he said.

In November, Piksa was charged with unlawful possession of a firearm in Oregon, according to court records obtained by KOMO.  The records show that in December, after she failed to appear in court, a warrant was issued.

Shearer said he’s speaking out “just to ensure that all the information is out there and that she has a fair trial.”

Authorities are working to determine the relationship between Piksa and Keller, as well as the motive for the alleged shooting, Seattle Deputy Chief Nick Metz said.

After a three hour-long manhunt on Friday, Piksa was arrested at her home in Burien, Wash., at 4:49 p.m.  The shooting unfolded just before 2 p.m. Friday and prompted the city to shut down all community centers and put area schools on high alert.

“We looked at this incident as a citywide emergency, because we knew that this suspect was likely to have access to a variety of parks department facilities, including some of the community centers,” Metz said.

Authorities responded to a Seattle Parks maintenance building after receiving a call from a man believed to be the victim, Keller, who said he had been shot.  None of the other employees in the building had been targeted, Metz said.

Keller was rushed to Harborview Medical Center, in critical but stable condition.  He was last listed in stable but serious condition, according to Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn.

Shortly after authorities responded to the first scene, they received a second emergency call from Bitter Lake Community Center, about two miles away, from a distraught employee who said a woman, who police believe is Piksa, had threatened her with a gun.

“She came into the building, they had a conversation, and during that conversation, she brandished a weapon,” Metz said.  “The suspect then left the building.  No shots were fired, not any kind of physical altercation occurred.”

Metz said there were no immediate details of what the woman told the employee, who he said was too distraught at the time to be interviewed by police.

Meanwhile, investigators used cellphone signals to track Piksa to her house.  A SWAT team surrounded her residence and ordered her through their bullhorn to come out of the house.

Piksa immediately surrendered unarmed and was taken to the Seattle Police Department’s homicide unit.

A weapon has not been recovered, but Metz said authorities planned to search Piksa’s home.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

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