Police capture man they say killed 5 at Washington state mall
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BURLINGTON, Wash. — Police said Saturday night they have captured the man they believe shot five people to death at a mall north of Seattle before fleeing toward an interstate highway on foot.
Authorities identified him as Arcan Cetin, a 20-year-old resident of Oak Harbor, Washington.
A gunman opened fire just after 7 p.m. Friday at the Cascade Mall in Burlington, Washington, about 60 miles north of Seattle, killing four females and a man before fleeing.
Law enforcement staged a massive search over more than 20 hours for the suspect, initially described by witnesses as a young Hispanic male dressed in black.
Authorities had said a rifle was found at the scene.
The motive was unknown for the shooting. The FBI was assisting local authorities, but it said there was no evidence to point to terrorism.
Authorities said four females, whose ages were not given, died after the gunman opened fire in the makeup department of a Macy’s store. A man who was wounded in the shooting died early Saturday. His location in the mall was unclear.
On Saturday, dozens of people attended a prayer service for the victims. The gathering was held at Central United Methodist Church in Sedro-Woolley, Washington. The Rev. Cody Natland lit five candles on a table in front of the church, one for each victim.
The names of those killed haven’t have been released.
Tari Caswell told the Skagit Valley Herald that she was in the Macy’s women’s dressing room when she heard “what sounded like four balloons popping.”
“Then I heard seven or eight more, and I just stayed quiet in the dressing room because it just didn’t feel right. And it got very quiet. And then I heard a lady yelling for help, and a man came and got me and another lady, and we ran out of the store,” Caswell told the newspaper.
Stephanie Bose, an assistant general manager at Johnny Carino’s Italian restaurant near the Macy’s store at the mall, said she immediately locked the doors to the restaurant after hearing about the shooting from an employee’s boyfriend.
“He was trying to go to the mall and people were screaming,” she told The Associated Press. “It was frantic.”
She said he could see police at the doors with assault rifles and said they were no longer guarding the doors as of 9:30 p.m.
Francis said at about 8:30 p.m. that the mall had been evacuated and emergency medical personnel were cleared to enter. Francis said authorities were still doing a “final clear” of the 434,000-square-foot (40,000-square-meter) mall late Friday night. He said 11 search teams and two K9 units were involved.
The parking lot was closed and emergency management officials told people they would be able to retrieve vehicles Saturday, though the mall said it would be closed for the day.
Gov. Jay Inslee said tragedy had struck the state.
“We urge residents to heed all safety and detour warnings. Stay close to your friends and loved ones as we await more information and, hopefully, news of the suspect’s capture,” Inslee said in a statement.
The Cascade Mall is an enclosed shopping mall that opened in 1990, according to the mall’s website. It features J.C. Penney, TJ Maxx, and Macy’s stores, among other stores, restaurants and a movie theater.
On Sept. 17, a man stabbed 10 people at a Minnesota mall before being shot and killed by an off-duty police officer. Authorities say Dahir Ahmed Adan, 20, stabbed the people at the Crossroads Center in St. Cloud, Minnesota.