Suspect charged in Washington state mall shooting


BURLINGTON, Wash.  — The lone suspect in the fatal shooting of five people in a Washington state mall has been charged with five counts of first degree murder, according to Skagit County jail records.

Arcan Cetin, 20, was taken into custody Saturday night after a nearly 24-hour manhunt, authorities said.

Four women and one man died in the shooting Friday night at a Macy’s store at the Cascade Mall in Burlington, just north of Seattle.

The victims’ identities have not been released.

Authorities arrested Cetin as he walked down the street near his home in Oak Harbor, Washington.

When officers confronted him, he did not run, said Lt. Mike Hawley of the Island County Sheriff’s Office. Instead, he froze and complied, Hawley said. Cetin was not armed at the time of his arrest.

“He said nothing,” Hawley said. “Just kind of zombie-like.”

Cetin is scheduled to make a court appearance Monday.

Motive unclear

While more details emerged on the suspect after his arrest Saturday night, the motive remains unknown.

Cetin emigrated from Turkey and is a legal permanent resident of the United States, authorities said. It’s unclear when he moved to the US.

State authorities said it’s too early to rule out terrorism or any other motive because their investigation is in its preliminary stages. Before the suspect’s arrest, an official with the FBI had told reporters there was “no evidence at this time” of a link to terrorism.

Authorities say Cetin walked into the mall, about 65 miles north of Seattle, and opened fire with a rifle Friday night. He allegedly fled the mall afterward, sending more than 24 law enforcement agencies on a manhunt across the state.

Authorities collected evidence from the mall overnight Friday and all day Saturday as the bodies were removed from the premise. Eventually, they identified his vehicle by matching information received from a tip with surveillance footage obtained from local business.

‘Devastating loss’

Authorities declined to comment on the type of weapon used or his mental health, citing the ongoing investigation. They did, however, say Cetin had been arrested once in the past year for simple assault.

Burlington Mayor Steve Sexton called the shooting a “devastating loss” of five treasured members of the small community.

“That was us in that mall last night –any one of us at any time,” Sexton said. “It changed those families forever. … It changed our community forever.”

Suspect to appear in court Monday

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee praised the hundreds of law enforcement personnel involved with capturing Cetin in less than 24 hours. He noted that the entire state of Washington stood with Burlington.

“Passivity in the face of this scourge of violence is unacceptable,” he said.

In the coming days, authorities said they planned to flesh out the timeline of Cetin’s alleged actions. They will also execute a number of search warrants in an effort to compile further evidence.