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Wash. mall shooting suspect in custody, police say

BURLINGTON, Wash. Police arrested a suspect in the fatal shootings of five people at the Cascade Mall 24 hours earlier, authorities announced Saturday night.

The suspect has been identified as 20-year-old Arcan Cetin, who is originally from Turkey but is a legal permanent U.S. resident. Authorities have released no information as to a possible motive in the attack. 

At a press conference Saturday night, the arresting officer Lt. Mike Hawley of the Island County Sheriff’s Office described Cetin as being “like a zombie” when he was taken into custody. He was unarmed, carrying a leather bag with a laptop inside at the time of his arrest, Hawley said.

According to CBS affiliate KIRO, Cetin was involved a misdemeanor fourth-degree assault case in Island County, Washington. He was reportedly ordered to undergo a mental health evaluation in August 2015, and that was completed as of March 2016, KIRO reported. Cetin also reportedly deferred prosecution until 2018 on a cannabis charge, according to KIRO. 

Police in Oak Harbor escort a man suspected of the fatal shootings of five people at the Cascade Mall in Burlington, Washington. Chris Wathen

Authorities said four women, ranging in age from teens to seniors, died Friday. A man who was wounded in the shooting died early Saturday, officials said. One of the victims has been identified as Sarai Lara, 16, according to KIRO

The Seattle Times reported Sarai Lara’s mother said she had survived cancer as a young girl and was a happy student.

Evangelina Lara told the newspaper through a translator that she was shopping Friday night at the Cascade Mall in Burlington, Washington, with Sarai and her younger sister, but they split up.

She says Sarai went to Macy’s looking for pants.

Evangelina Lara says it was confirmed at 2 a.m. Saturday that her daughter was among the five people killed.

Dozens of people attended a Saturday evening prayer service for the victims. The gathering was held at Central United Methodist Church in nearby Sedro-Woolley, Washington.

The Rev. Cody Natland lit five candles on a table in front of the church, one for each victim.

The other victims have not yet been identified. 

The mall was packed Friday night when the gunman opened fire with what police described as a “hunting-type” rifle. Victims described chaos on the scene as police locked it down and tried to clear the area.


Stephanie Bose, an assistant general manager at Johnny Carino’s Italian restaurant near the Macy’s store at the mall, said she immediately locked the doors after hearing about the shooting from an employee’s boyfriend.

“He was trying to go to the mall and people were screaming,” she told The Associated Press. “It was frantic.”

She said he could see police at the doors with assault rifles.

It took hours for teams to search the 434,000-square-foot mall late Friday night. They escorted shoppers and workers who had sheltered in place outside.

“It took several hundred to do that...clearing every room, to make sure the suspect wasn’t still on the scene,” Cammock said.

The parking lot was closed and emergency management officials told people they would be able to retrieve vehicles Saturday, though the mall said it would be closed for the day.

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