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Originally published December 26, 2006 at 12:00 AM | Page modified December 29, 2006 at 1:03 PM

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Site of Capitol Hill massacre is once again a happy home

It hasn't even been three months since they moved into the notorious rental house on East Capitol Hill, and the four young people are already...

Seattle Times staff reporter

It hasn't even been three months since they moved into the notorious rental house on East Capitol Hill, and the four young people are already used to the gawkers and occasional comments about the home being haunted.

They said they knew what they were getting into when they saw the Craigslist ad featuring the East Republican Street home that was the scene of the Capitol Hill shootings. They said they weren't fazed; they loved the neighborhood.

"The only thing I was worried about were people's looks," said one 21-year-old woman who did not want her name published.

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During the early-morning hours of March 25, Kyle Huff burst into a quiet after-rave party armed with a small arsenal. He killed six people, the youngest only 14. After fatally shooting the six, wounding two others and terrifying a house full of people, Huff, 28, turned the gun on himself.

Though Huff's twin brother and mother have declined to comment about what might have triggered such violence, a crime panel hired by the city of Seattle to evaluate Huff's motive believes he was depressed and lonely.

On the evening before the shootings, Huff attended a Capitol Hill zombie-themed rave party then went to the after-rave party when someone extended an invitation.

At the house party, Huff stood off by himself. Shortly before 7 a.m. he walked outside, grabbed a shotgun and Ruger handgun from a pickup, paused three times to spray-paint "NOW" on the sidewalk, and then opened fire.

Huff killed two people on the front steps before barging into the house blasting bullets.

Jason Travers, 32; Jeremy Martin, 26; Justin Schwartz, 22; Christopher Williamson, 21; Suzanne Thorne, 15; and Melissa Moore, 14, were killed. The names of the two who were wounded have never been released.

The shootings were Seattle's worst mass killing since the 1983 Wah Mee massacre that left 13 dead.

The four women who moved into the home on Oct. 1 didn't know Huff or his victims. Instead of early-morning parties and raves, they favor regular snowboarding trips and hosting quiet dinner parties.

"People are worried when they see that four girls live here," one of the roommates said.

She and another 21-year-old roommate requested that their names not be published because their landlord asked them not to talk to reporters about what it's like to live at the home made infamous by Huff's violence. A fifth woman, they said, has since moved into the basement apartment.

When the women moved into the home, they said, they received the once-over from neighbors and passers-by. A crew of construction workers once shouted at them that the house was haunted. Their friends, they said, often boast about them living there.

Though their families were concerned about the women living at the house, one woman said she was determined not to let history affect their decision to move in. The women said they loved the cute, upscale neighborhood, which is close to their jobs and schools.

Since the shooting, the landlord replaced the front door and wood flooring, the women said. The living room is clean and well-lit. A mirror that advertises a microbrewery hangs over the dining-room table, and an orange tabby cat strolls across the bright pine floor.

The home, which was known in the local media as the "blue house," is now covered in green siding.

Barbara DeAsis, who lives next door, said the new tenants are fairly quiet.

"I think they had maybe one party since they moved in," said DeAsis, whose family has lived in the neighborhood 40 years. "They seem to be engaged in rather wholesome activities.

"I'm pleased. I was concerned when they were renting again to a group of young people."

The four roommates said they look forward to March 25, 2007, with the expectation that friends of the six killed and other mourners will gather outside the house. One of the roommates said she'll be disappointed if people don't show up.

"It would be a little different if it was a Satanist group and there was a big massacre," one of the roommates said. "It's sad what happened."

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

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