Washington state police and other authorities continued their investigation into the shooting at a Macy’s on Friday night that left five people dead.
Authorities arrested a 20-year-old man Saturday night in connection with the shooting in the shopping mall.
Law enforcement officials are still seeking answers to what motivated the man to open fire at a Macy’s. The gunman was identified as Arcan Cetin from the city of Oak Harbor, Wash. He was arrested Saturday evening based on a tip that came in, which resulted in police interviewing Cetin’s family and others close to him. He was found Saturday evening walking along a road in Island County, which is roughly two hours away from where the shooting took place, and taken into custody. Cetin’s home and vehicle were searched Sunday. Information about the victims is expected to be released Tuesday.
Cetin was seen entering the Macy’s at the Cascade Mall in Washington Friday at 7 p.m. and reappeared on surveillance cameras 10 minutes later carrying a rifle. He opened fire in the store’s cosmetics department, killing four females, with the youngest a teenager. A fifth male victim was transported to a nearby hospital, where he later died from his wounds. Shoppers were evacuated from the mall, forced to leave their vehicles behind and board busses to safety. Those parked on the east side of the mall were notified a little before 1 p.m. PST Saturday they could begin picking up their vehicles.
The mall, located about 65 miles north of Seattle, will remain closed through Sunday and is expected to reopen Monday.
The shooter, believed to be a lone gunman, opened fire in Macy’s at the Cascade Mall in Burlington, a town located about 65 miles north of Seattle. His capture was revealed by the Washington State Patrol on Twitter.
The FBI said there was no indication of terrorism, but can’t discount such a motive.
The mall houses retailers such as American Eagle Outfitters, Bath & Body Works, J.C. Penney, TJ Maxx, Target and Victoria’s Secret, among others.
All the fatalities occurred at Macy’s.
“We are devastated by the tragic events that occurred last night at Cascade Mall,” a Macy’s spokeswoman said Saturday. “Our hearts are with our Burlington store, the families and loved ones of the victims, and the entire community. We are working closely with local law enforcement authorities as the investigation continues to unfold. They will be providing updates as the situation develops.”
The mall is owned by Macerich, which said in a statement Saturday: “We are deeply saddened by the tragic event that occurred this evening. Our prayers and condolences are with the victims and their families.”
All five victims were mortally wounded, confirmed Police Lt. Chris Cammock while speaking at a press conference Saturday morning.
Authorities said they believed the suspect to be in his late teens to mid-20s wearing black clothes and were unable to say if the attack in the store’s makeup department was pre-mediated and if it was terror related.
Cammock declined to confirm a report that a woman in a nearby dressing room heard a man yelling someone’s name repeatedly at the time of the shooting. It is also unclear if the victims were related or had any other links between them.
Officers using K-9 units searched the 434,000-square-foot mall throughout Friday night. People were cautioned to stay indoors and secure on Saturday.
The National Retail Federation said Saturday, “The NRF Loss Prevention community has worked in conjunction with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the International Council of Shopping Centers to create an Active Shooter guidelines for the retail industry. Our Active Shooter guidelines are upgraded annually with the help of DHS, FEMA and other first responders. We know that Macy’s has these guidelines, as well as their own policies, strong partnerships with law enforcement and is vigilant about employee training and safety protocols. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the victims’ families and to all those who have been impacted by this horrific event.”
Stephanie Cegielski, vice president of public relations at International Council of Shopping Centers, said Saturday, “The ICSC is shocked and saddened by this attack and our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families.” While the organization does not dictate how properties should handle security incidents since each center is different, it aims to be a resource. Last week following the Chelsea bombings, Cegielski said most everyone operates on a heightened level of alert these days, with some shopping center owners pumping up surveillance or adding barricades while there is also regular training with local law enforcement to make sure response times are appropriate.
The Outlet Shoppes at Burlington reported Nike and Lululemon closed Saturday. The center, less than a mile away from the Cascade Mall, counts tenants such as Coach Outlet, Eddie Bauer Outlet, Filson and Lane Bryant. Things appeared to be business as usual at two Southern California malls, South Coast Plaza and Fashion Island, on Saturday afternoon.
Friday’s incident came less than a week after terror attacks in the Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan; Seaside Park, N.J., and at a Minnesota mall set America on edge, and threatened to further dampen consumer sentiment.
Last week, following the bombing in Chelsea, where there were no deaths, Bob Moraca, head of loss prevention for the NRF, said, “In light of recent bombings, retailers in New York and across the country are fully prepared to implement their top-level emergency plans. That includes encouraging personnel and shoppers to maintain a heightened level of vigilance at all times. But this is just not a reactive posture, because all year long retailers work with federal, state and local law enforcement. Much of that starts with a high level of communication in order to keep abreast of any and all threat updates. Retailers large and small are prepared to take whatever action is necessary to best serve their employees and shoppers in communities where they operate.”
Last Monday, a suspect was arrested in Linden, N.J. after a shootout with police. He is 28-year-old Ahmad Khan Rahami. He is believed to be responsible for both bombings in Chelsea and Seaside Park, N.J.