Date
20 July 2017
Security video shows the gunman who opened fire at the Cascade Mall in Burlington, Washington on Friday night. Photo: Reuters
Security video shows the gunman who opened fire at the Cascade Mall in Burlington, Washington on Friday night. Photo: Reuters

Probers search for motive in deadly US mall shooting

Police have arrested a 20-year-old suspect in a shooting inside a shopping mall in Washington state that left five people dead.

Turkish-born Arcan Cetin was taken into custody on Saturday evening in Oak Harbor, about 30 miles (48 km) southwest of Burlington where the shooting occurred on Friday night.

Investigators are still searching for a motive for the rampage. Cetin, who was due to appear in court on Monday, had yet to be charged.

The FBI said while they had no indication the attack was a “terrorism act”, it could not rule out that possibility.

Cetin’s demeanor when apprehended was “zombie-like”, police said at a news conference.

He was unarmed and did not run from officers, they said.

Cetin, who police said is a legal, permanent resident of the United States, is accused of opening fire in the cosmetics section of a Macy’s department store at Cascade Mall, killing four women and a man.

Surveillance video showed the suspect entering the mall without a rifle but he was later spotted on video in the store brandishing a weapon, police said. The rifle was recovered at the mall.

The attack followed a series of violent outbursts at shopping centers across the US, including the stabbing of nine people at a Minnesota center last weekend.

It comes at a time of heightened tensions in the US after a succession of seemingly random attacks in public places, ranging from a gay night club in Orlando, Florida, to a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado.

Investigators planned to search Cetin’s Oak Harbor residence, vehicle and interview witnesses on Sunday to collect evidence and “build as good as a case as you can”, said Sergeant Mark Francis, a spokesman for the Washington State Police.

Police have reports that Cetin’s ex-girlfriend worked at the Macy’s, Francis said. The possible connection was under investigation.

Cetin has a criminal record that includes three domestic violence charges in which his stepfather was the victim, the Seattle Times reported, citing court records.

He also was arrested for drunken driving and barred by a judge in December from possessing a firearm, the newspaper reported without providing details.

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CG

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