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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."

Valerie Sklarevsky June 11, 2012 at 04:48 PM
What a shame. A permanent solution to a temporary problem. Being aware of all of the infighting and resentment regarding Malibu Lagoon it is so important to "love your enemies" or treat those of opposing views with kindness and respect. I have always been opposed to having guns in the home - to scarey and to available during times of emotional upheaval! Valerie Sklarevsky
Jackie Robbins June 11, 2012 at 05:04 PM
being "close to the vest" I can assure you that the grapevine is full of rumors that are not true...now is a time to open our hearts and have compassion...allow the shock and tragedy to cause all of us to re-evaluate the ways in which we communicate...how destructive and hurtful words and actions can be to the healthy continuation of life in our community... the love that we are capable of mustering for our friend and neighbor, Steve Woods can help him lift his foot and take the next step..... it could very well be the step we all need to take in helping the process of healing our environment, our world...... Peace 4 Steph Glas
John June 11, 2012 at 05:48 PM
Sorry for your loss Steve.
Wendy Keller June 11, 2012 at 06:03 PM
Nicely said, Jackie. What a terrible tragedy! Steph seemed to suffer so much in life - I hope she finds peace in death. Love to Steve and the already burdened community.
Joseph Delano June 11, 2012 at 06:26 PM
You don't want to have a gun in your home lady? DON'T, but don't try and impose your beliefs on the rest of us. Typical lib claptrap - if a conservative doesn't believe in gun ownership he doesn't own one, but if a lib doesn't believe in gun ownership he/she wants to ban them from EVERYBODY. Pathetic.
Cece Stein June 11, 2012 at 08:16 PM
Thank you Joseph and beautiful words Jackie, John etc... Steve is unable to post because of 'politics' - let's just keep it at that. I am happy to share his words for him.
Joseph Delano June 11, 2012 at 08:32 PM
"Politics?" Cece? Is that newagespeak for what we used to call "censorship?" If so, that is despicable, but entirely predictible coming from the far left.
J. Flo June 11, 2012 at 08:37 PM
It's just so sad. Suicide is a desperate act. It goes far beyond one external "issue". It usually arrives from unresolved internal pain caused from many sources, both physical and mental. Not always understandable even by those who are closest. It is heartbreaking to lose a neighbor. Let's all work on healing ourselves, our friends and our relationships with each other. Kindness, even in the midst of great disagreement - leads to healing. Such great sympathy to her family - such a tragedy and loss.
Candace Brown June 11, 2012 at 09:08 PM
Well said, Jackie and J. And for those of you who feel the need to gossip and speculate, just STOP. STOP IT. Please.
Cece Stein June 11, 2012 at 09:34 PM
The majority of you are all immensely kind and wonderful and eloquently put by Candace in reference to the gossip. Steve and I have had a hellish last 24 hours trying to put a stop to the gossip. The media has done their best with the information Steve and I have given in interviews and have been careful in reporting the details of Stephenie's tragic death. I urge the community to please respect the fact that we, her friends and family are in DEEP pain and the last thing we want is to hear gossip surrounding her death. Stephenie often urged me to get on the Patch to communicate and ironically it took her death to get me here but since I am now responsible for the 411 ( before only in terms of loyalty to my friendship with Steph and helping her get the info up on the websites and social media )
Cece Stein June 11, 2012 at 09:37 PM
I would like the 411 to be a place we can all contribute to as a community - show both viewpoints in a fair and respectful manner. I would love your help in achieving this goal for the future of our community.
John Haugh June 11, 2012 at 10:24 PM
I met Stephanie in Mammoth a few years ago and would snowboard with her and Steve, we would joke about her only wanting to ride the powder days as soon as the top opened. She had a love of the outdoors, wheteher Mammoth or Malibu, and had an obvious desire to help. As a fellow firefighter who battles PTSD I had many talks with her on what I went through, but had no idea of what she may have been battling. I will always remember her now when I ride Monuments on an epic pow day! John
Lin Mayural June 11, 2012 at 10:51 PM
Stephenie was a great friend and an awesome person who was deeply committed to the causes she believed in including being a firefighter and the Malibu Lagoon project. Sadly, I think she internalized external pressures and took them upon herself. I'm deeply saddened that she was hurting that badly. My condolences to Steve , who I know was her rock in trying times. We should honor her service to Los Angeles as a firefighter. Hopefully the department can offer the firefighters more in the way of PTSD support.
John June 11, 2012 at 11:17 PM
Dang Joseph relax. Some people get kicked off of the Patch if they cannot refrain from using profanity or act rude towards each other. If you read posts on the Malibu Patch then you already know how some people can get really irate. I'm guessing that is what this is about.
gina bryant June 12, 2012 at 05:49 AM
Patience and Love/Yes......Violence-/No Life is precious. As someone who has lost a close friend to suicide, the bewilderment, pain and even anger, is unending. It sounds like Stephenie had a long-suffered illness which caused her deep emotional pain. It went ignored for too long, only to be dealt with in a tragic violent way. To put the blame on her boyfriend, the lagoon, her job, etc is just wrong and hurtful. I take great issue with the Patch, and title of this article. It takes the emphasis off of her painful life and the real issue, for the sake of a hot topic in Malibu which is cheap. Let this be a metaphor for the gentle healing which needs to take place, and the fact that life is precious. Violence is never the answer, and healing is only accomplished with love and patience. I think all can agree on that.
Patricia Glas June 12, 2012 at 12:51 PM
I want to thank all of you that have posted kind words and fond memories of my daughter, Stephenie Glas. I suppose I will never know exactly what caused my daughter to want to exit this world. Her whole life was spent on working so hard to get good grades in school. She was never satisfied with a B, it had to be A's. Every project she signed up for was met with ethusiasm and total committment. She was never so so about anything that she strongly believed in. I remember one night while she was in her freshman year at UCLA, she was crying and told me that she couldn't believe the grade she got on a paper she wrote for an English class. I asked her what the grade was, she said, "I got a B, I can't have a B"! Stephenie always set extemely high standards for herself and a B simply was not good enough for her. Her loss is devastating, I keep thinking that it's a nightmare and that I'm going to wake up and get a call from her. I'm going to miss her every day for the rest of my life. But I know that one day, I will see her again and she will be beautiful and her arms will be stretched out running to greet me.
Jessica E. Davis June 12, 2012 at 03:30 PM
My heart goes out to you in your loss, Patricia. Many people at last night's City Council meeting paused in memory of your daughter, a testament to the impact she had here in Malibu.
Cece Stein June 12, 2012 at 05:26 PM
That is so beautiful to hear Jessica! Steve and I are so greatful for the love the community is showing for Stephenie.
JIM CRAWFORD June 13, 2012 at 02:07 AM
Sorry to learn of this.... God Bless you brother sending love to you and family....
Just_Trolling June 13, 2012 at 09:31 AM
R.I.P. I didn't know you, but you certainly didn't deserve this. Blessing and thoughts to family, friends, and loved ones. Such a tragic event.
Jo Cherkas June 13, 2012 at 06:22 PM
Patricia: I didn't personally know Stephenie but remember reading her comments here in the Patch. She seemed very passionate about life and her beliefs. I was extremely saddened to hear the tragic news. My heart goes out to you and the rest of her family along with her friends. My best friend who I thought I'd spend the rest of my life with took his life many years ago. It's incredibly painful for the survivors of suicide. The news is so shocking/damaging and changed me forever. There were so many questions, what ifs and whys. I was numb for a very long time. Went to many support meetings which did help some. I never got over it but I did work through it. I cherish and hold onto the many wonderful memories. I wish you all the inner peace and love. - Jo Cherkas
Melissa Kelley June 14, 2012 at 01:49 PM
Wish I could have said.. Suicide is not the answer, sleep on it. Perspective is the key to survival, give it time, don't believe those with hidden agendas, care for yourself believe in optimism and ask for help no matter how tough you think you are... She accomplished so much and had so much stress, this job forces us to be in unthinkable situations and as women, I believe we take on additional stress through our immense compassion... that coupled with trying to constantly prove ourselves in a male dominated society, and then her work in Malibu, what a perfect storm. I knew Stephanie, she was one of the hardest workers I knew, she was so physically capable, smart and so incredibly passionate. I also know that her passion could bite and when she needed help, felt alone, and especially when she felt attacked, she would push hard. I wish I would have had the endurance and the force to love her bigger then... I am so sorry for this loss, I wish I could have shielded her more, loved her harder, broken through the walls and saved her. Thinking of you Patricia and all that loved her, you will forever be in my prayers.
hearttoyou June 15, 2012 at 05:26 PM
What a loving and supportive post. my father took his life with a shot gun many years back. There were times that I just walked down the street with a heaviness on my chest and a feeling of grief and detachment that i never imagined would go away. It was the love and support of those around me that got me through.. over my lifetime I have felt his presence in both subtle and intense ways...thank you for taking the time to post this loving message....
Jeff Smith June 17, 2012 at 02:44 AM
I will miss my former classmate and surfer bud. RIP Glas
Laurie T. June 18, 2012 at 06:26 PM
I have fond memories of Stephenie from grade school and high school. As a girl I wished I was like her. She was faster than anyone, it was embarrassing to do a relay with her because she was too fast. I will never forget her and my prayers are with her family and her friends. It's tragic the way the mind works.
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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