The suspected gunman responsible for killing five people Friday night in the Cascade Mall, in Burlington, Washington, is in custody. He has been identified as Arcan Cetin, a native of Adana, Turkey.
Washington State Patrol officers tweeted his arrest at 7:20 p.m. PDT. The suspected shooter was seen and recognized while walking on a street in the town of Oak Harbor and was detained as a person of interest.
According to his Facebook page, Cetin is a graduate of Oak Harbor High School, class of 2015. Cetin describes his nickname as “The Turk.” His profile says he was formerly a bagger at the Whidbey Island Naval Air Station Commissary.
A massive police manhunt began in Burlington, Washington, about 65 miles north of Seattle, after a gunman shot and killed five people Friday evening at the Cascade Mall, then fled.
The suspect, armed with a “hunting-type rifle,” initially entered Macy’s unarmed, according to reports. He left and returned about 10 minutes later with the rifle and began shooting.
The fatalities included four females, ranging in age from teens to seniors, and one male victim, said Mount Vernon Police Lt. Chris Cammock at a news conference Saturday morning.
The identity of the youngest victim, Sarai Lara, 16 — a cancer survivor — was confirmed by her mother
Evangelina Lara told the Yakima Herald she was shopping at the mall with Sarai and her younger sister, but they split up to different stores. Sarai went to Macy’s looking for pants. Once the shooting began she was blocked from trying to get to Macy’s to find her daughter.
Lara said no one in her family recognized the shooter from his picture.
Another victim is believed to be Shayla Martin, 52. While her family has received no official notification, her sister, Karen Van Horn, said she had been told by a witness that Martin had been killed.
“She was so sweet,” Van Horn told The Herald. “She was just very independent. She wanted to make her own way. She didn’t want to rely on anyone else.”
KIRO News reported Beatrice Dotson and Belinda Galde as the other two female victims. The mother-daughter pair were in Macy’s together. Galde was reportedly a probation officer. Her mother was 95 years old.
Based on witness reports and mall surveillance video, Sgt. Mark Francis, of the Washington State Patrol described the shooter as a “Hispanic male wearing gray,” approximately 20 to 25-years-old, with a “skinny build” and black messy hair. The gunman fled on foot toward Interstate 5. Initial reports indicated he was still carrying the rifle, but Saturday morning Associated Press reported the weapon had been recovered in Macy’s.
A March 26, 2012, posting on Cetin’s website suggests he had previously been on a “rifle team.”
An image from surveillance cameras showing the armed shooter in the mall was released.
Three of the women victims were killed at the scene and the others died after being taken to area hospitals for treatment. There is currently no information on the age of the male victim.
According to Fox affiliate KCPQ, Francis declined to comment on an unconfirmed report that the gunman yelled a woman’s name when he entered the store.
Reports of the shooting started coming in to authorities about 7 p.m., local time, authorities said.
Tari Caswell, who was in the Macy’s women’s dressing room when the shooting began, said 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,” she told the Skagit Valley Herald. “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.”
Police transported survivors of the shooting to His Place, a nearby church, where they could be reunited with friends and relatives. Cars parked at the mall could not be retrieved until sometime Saturday.
While the shooter was reported as having walked away from the mall, 11 police teams conducted a thorough search of the 434,000 square-foot facility with its many secure rooms late into the evening.
Residents near the mall were asked to stay inside and report anything suspicious. Law enforcement reported receiving several calls during the night by individuals claiming to be the gunman.
At approximately 10:45 p.m. local time, a mobilized SWAT team was observed in downtown Burlington, reported KOMO News, but no further activity was reported
Residents of Burlington and its surroundings were asked by police for help identifying the gunman who remains on the loose.
Maria Elena Vasquez of Burlington attended a community gathering Saturday following the Friday evening slayings at the city’s Cascade Mall. She said “it’s nerve-wracking” and she’s nervous about taking her 7-year-old daughter to her soccer game, Associated Press reported.
“There are people waking up this morning and their lives are changed forever,” Mayor Steve Sexton said. “The city of Burlington is changed forever. The world came knocking on our doorstep.”
Praising law enforcement, Sexton pledged his support to “bring the son of a bitch to justice who did this to our community.”