Turkish-born man held after five shot dead
Authorities have arrested a Turkish born man suspected of shooting dead five people, including a teenaged cancer survivor, at a shopping mall in Washington state in the United States.
Police named the suspect as Arcan Cetin, a 20-year-old resident of the nearby town of Oak Harbour, saying he was arrested late on Saturday about 24 hours after the killings.
The FBI office in Seattle said it had no evidence the shooting was terror-related.
The gunman opened fire with a rifle in the makeup section of a Macy’s department store late on Friday, killing four women and a man, according to police.
He later left the store on foot, triggering an intense manhunt.
A weapon was recovered at the scene of the violence, Cascade Mall in Burlington, a town of about 8 000 people about 110kmnorth of Seattle.
Police are still trying to establish a motive.
The youngest victim was named as Sarai Lara, 16, who survived cancer as a young girl.
Relatives named another victim as 52-year-old Shayla Martin, who worked as a Macy’s makeup artist.
“We ’re really having a tough time right now,” her sister, Karen Van Horn, told The Seattle Times.
Authorities had initially described the suspect as a His panic man in his late teens or early 20s.
Members of the public called in with numerous tips that helped lead to the arrest, police said, adding that Cetin’s family was cooperating.
While Cetin was born in Turkey, he was a legal permanent resident of the US, Mount Vernon Police Department criminal investigations chief Lieutenant Chris Cammock said.
Cetin is due in court today.
A Facebook page that appeared to belong to Cetin, and which has since been taken down, said he was born in the southern Turkish city of Adana.
It also said he went to Oak Harbour High School, which is about48km from Burlington, and had worked at a grocery store on nearby Whidbey Island.
In February, he posted a link to a “Call of Duty” first-person shooter video-game practice session, in an eerie foreshadowing of the real world violence he is suspected of perpetrating.
YouTube users posted lewd comments on that page and on Cetin’s Twitter page in response to the mall shooting.
Police said Cetin had one prior arrest, last year, for assault.
It was the latest chapter in America’s epidemic of gun violence.
Burlington mayor Steve Sexton’s voice trembled as he noted that the randomness of gun violence in America – which causes an estimated 30 000 deaths a year – had hit his small town.
“We suffered a devastating loss of five treasured members of our community who had done nothing more than what we all would to the shopping mall,” he said.
“It changed those families forever. And we keep them in our prayers. It changed our community, I’m afraid, forever.”
The shooting came amid fierce debate in America over gun control laws.
It is a hot issue on the campaign trail ahead of the November8 presidential election.
“We are united in knowing that the status quo is not good enough when it comes to violence in our community,” Washington Governor Jay Inslee said.
“Passivity in the face of this scourge . . . is unacceptable.”
The shooter had walked in without a weapon, and appeared on security cameras about 10minutes later with a rifle.
The mall was evacuated, polices warmed the area and medics rushed to the scene after the mall was initially placed on lockdown.
Local and regional law enforcement from up to 27 agencies responded to the scene, with about200 officers on site at the height of the incident. Police took hours to clear the sprawling building.
“We are devastated by the tragic events that occurred last night at Cascade Mall,” Macy’s said on its Facebook page on Saturday.
At a vigil held for the victims on Saturday morning in Burlington’s Maiben Park, Kelly Couture, who exited the mall through a Target store as the chaos was unfolding, told The Seattle Times there were “just sirens, and people were yelling and running out of the building”.
The mall was closed on Saturday as a mark of respect for the victims.