Law enforcement in Washington put out an urgent plea for the community to aide in the search for a man who opened fire in a shopping mall. Image from Washington State Patrol District 7 Public Information/Twitter
BURLINGTON, Wash., Sept. 24 (UPI) -- Law enforcement put out an urgent plea in the search for a man who opened fire in a shopping mall after revealing the assailant appeared to enter the mall without a weapon but left with a rifle.
Police said the man walked into the Cascade Mall in Burlington, outside Seattle, and went to Macy's, where he shot a teen girl and a man before walking to the cosmetics section and shooting three women. The whole incident took 10 minutes.
Four women were confirmed dead on Friday night following the shooting. A fifth victim, a man, was flown to a local hospital in critical condition and died overnight, according to the Seattle Times.
The names of those who died were not immediately released, but their ages ranged from teen to 60s. It is unclear if there were any other victims. Police said there was only one gunman.
The shooter's motive or relation to the victims is unknown. Authorities said there was no evidence to point to terrorism at this time. The weapon was found at the scene, but police did not reveal details regarding the caliber and kind of rounds fired.
"We have no indication this was a terrorism act," assistant special agent in the FBI's Seattle office said, according to ABC News. "There is no evidence to support that."
Police Sgt. Mark Francis described the shooter as ahispanic male in his late teens or early 20s with a close-shaved haircut and used a long gun similar to a hunting rifle.
Skagit County Department of Emergency Management shared additional photos of the suspect and urged residents to assist in his identification.
The mall was locked down for hours Friday night and remained closed Saturday. Hundreds of police offices and two K-9 units were dispatched to the immediate area to search for the shooter.
The shooter was last seen walking towards Interstate 5 at 7 p.m. The FBI has joined Washington State Patrol in the search.
Surveillance video only showed the inside of the mall and no exterior views of the mall have been made available.
A group of survivors were transported by bus to a nearby church and told to check back on their cars the next day, as the Skagit County emergency office said the mall was "still an active scene," according to CNN.
Detectives began interviewing at least 20 people including patrons of mall and employees.
Gov.Jay Inslee released a statement mourning the tragic loss of the victims and urging citizens to comply with detours and other safety precautions.
"Tragedy has struck in Washington tonight. Our hearts are in Burlington where a shooter has taken the lives of at least four people," he said. "Trudi and I send our condolences to the families of the victims and prayers for anyone injured. We urge residents to heed all safety and detour warnings. Stay close to your friends and loved ones as we await more information and, hopefully, news of the suspect's capture."