Activist’s death ruled suicide


Stephenie Glas, a local activist and L.A. County firefighter, was found dead on June 9. Investigators concluded she committed suicide with a handgun.

By Melissa Caskey / The Malibu Times

Investigators ruled that firefighter and local activist Stephenie Glas died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound in June, closing the case on the controversial incident. Glas, who actively campaigned in favor of the controversial Malibu Lagoon Restoration Project, was found dead on June 9 at her boyfriend’s home.

Final test results cleared her boyfriend, Steve Woods, of any involvement in the case. Forensics tests showed Woods did not have any gunshot residue on his hands, according to media reports. The tests only found residue on Glas’ hands.

Woods was the last person to see Glas on the evening of her death. The two had been arguing that night, according to Woods. In an effort to let tensions ease he said he walked out of the house. Moments later, he heard the gunshot and ran back into the house to find Glas fatally wounded. She was airlifted to Northridge Hospital Medical Center, where she was pronounced dead shortly before midnight.

Friends said stress may have been a contributing factor in her death, as she acted as one of the few outspoken supporters of a state project to redirect water flow in the Malibu Lagoon. Opponents believe the project will result in more harm than help to local ocean waters.

Glas, Woods and publicist Cece Stein co-founded “The Real Malibu 411,” a site dedicated to discussion about Malibu “civic issues, interesting upcoming events, entertainment, real estate, and current local experiences and concerns.” Several posts on the site outline support for the lagoon project. During the past several years she was said to have grown passionate about the environment, dedicating large amounts of her spare time to promote its preservation.

For Woods, the end of the investigation spells the closure of a painful emotional chapter.

“Having the case be officially closed helps bring closure for me. On top of the tragedy, I have had to endure speculation, gossip, false assumptions, wild rumors all based in negative human emotion and ignorance,” Woods said in a statement.

Glas, a UCLA graduate, worked as a firefighter for seven years before her death. Most recently she worked at Firehouse 93 in the San Fernando Valley. More than 100 firefighters attended her funeral in June.