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Stress Over Lagoon Project Led to Stephenie Glas' Suicide, Boyfriend Says

"I think this was the one thing that sent her over the edge a little bit," said Steve Woods. Sheriff's Department homicide detectives are investigating the Saturday night shooting.

Stephenie Glas of Malibu, who died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound Saturday, had been upset over the past few weeks, especially over hostility in the community regarding the Malibu Lagoon Restoration Project, her boyfriend said.

Glas, a city of Los Angeles firefighter who had become more well known for her vocal support of the project in recent months, was heckled by protesters last week as the project got underway, said her longtime boyfriend Steve Woods.

Woods, who was the only other person with Glas when she shot herself at his home in Corral Canyon, said a number of recent events had been weighing on her, including hostility in the community over the lagoon.

Wood said that on June 4 protesters hurled insults at her for holding up a sign in support of the California State Parks department and the lagoon project, prompting her to break down and cry.

“I wasn’t really aware of how it was affecting her until that moment when she broke down," Woods said. "I think that part of some of the things she has been having to deal with has evolved to one thing layering on top of another thing. I think this was the one thing that sent her over the edge a little bit."

With emotion in his voice, Woods recalled the events of Saturday night, including an argument he had with Glas, whom he had been dating for the past 3-½ years. The disagreement started about their watching the TV broadcast of the Stanley Cup Final together, he said.

“It was a little emotional thing that triggered other emotional things, deep-rooted issues that go back to her childhood,” Woods said.

He said he left his home to cool off. 

“I was going to go for a walk or get in my car and drive to let some emotions calm down,” Woods said.

He said he heard a gunshot, rushed back inside, and then called 911. 

“I was trying to keep a towel compression on her head," Woods said. "I didn’t know what else to do until the paramedics came."

In addition to the stress over the lagoon, Woods said he believed that Glas may have been suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder from her work as a firefighter.

“She had been in emotional pain for a lot of years. I had no idea. Unfortunately, I didn’t understand the degree of that pain. It was her only way out of that pain,” Woods said.

Glas also had recently started up the Real Malibu 411, a website dedicated to providing information about the controversial Malibu Lagoon Restoration Project and other issues in Malibu.

“She felt a responsibility on a civic level to state the facts that she believed in,” Woods said. “She had the strength to stand up there and voice her opinion. It was the first time in her life she had really been active in community awareness and volunteerism on a civic level.”

He said she feared confronting some people in the community because of a difference in opinion.

“She was passionate on working for the Malibu 411," Woods said. "She felt it was so important. She took on way too much by herself. It was something that kind of overwhelmed her. It put added pressure on herself."

Woods said he knows many people will choose to believe what they want about Glas’ death, but that he has been overwhelmed with support from friends and community members.

“People can take a look at the police report,” Woods said. “It’s not a homicide.”

The Los Angeles County Coroner’s Office has not released the identity of the woman, pending notification of next of kin.

According to information released by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, a 35-year-old woman was found about 10 p.m. Saturday with a gunshot wound to her head at a home in the 2000 block of Corral Canyon Road in Malibu.

The woman, who was breathing, was flown to a hospital, where she was pronounced dead, said Lt. Josh Thai of the Lost Hills/Malibu Station.

Detectives believe the wound was self-inflicted.

An official at the Sheriff's Headquarters Bureau, who asked not to be quoted, told City News Service he could not disclose why homicide detectives ruled the woman's death a suicide.

The case is being handled by homicide detectives, which is the normal procedure in the case of a shooting death.

In an email sent to Malibu Patch and others on June 4, Glas wrote that she was pleased the Malibu Lagoon project had started that day.

"I can't tell you how rewarding it was to have all of the State Parks representatives as well as multiple contributors from varying agencies, heading to the site today, to start their work, give us a handshake and a big thank you for our support," Glas wrote.

She offered her thanks to supporters of the project.

"Thank God it's over with and we can look forward to a clean, healthy wetland in our near future!!," she wrote. "Now we can focus on other big, important issues in this beautiful town we love so much."

Lori Garrett June 18, 2012 at 09:07 PM
I also have fond memories of Stephenie from grade school. She had a huge heart and was so smart, talented and creative. I'm very saddened to hear of this. My heart goes out to her family and loved ones.
Mindy T June 19, 2012 at 04:23 PM
My sister Laurie T and I went to school with Stephanie. I have SO many fun memories of her from grade school too. My heart is breaking for all of you who are her family and loved ones. There are no words. Please know that I am praying and that I care.
Mindy T June 19, 2012 at 04:34 PM
Patricia I am praying for you and all of Stephanie's loved ones. My sister Laurie and I went to school with her when we were kids. I am so sad and sorry for your tragic loss.
Katy Drawbaugh Harris June 20, 2012 at 05:33 AM
What an awful, sad tragedy. I haven't seen or spoken to Stephenie in more than 20 years but we were very close in grade school. She was extremely smart, athletic and creative. I remember her running the fastest in track, always getting the highest grades and had a beautiful infectious laugh. She loved animals and had the most beautiful eyes and smile. Im so sad to hear she took her life. I hope she is now at peace. Many hugs and condolences to you Steve and Patricia.
Se Park July 27, 2013 at 03:47 AM
Hope all of you hecklers that night are ashamed of yourselves. You actively contributed to her suicide.

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