Suspected gunman charged with 1st-degree murder in Washington state mall shooting

By Yvette C. Hammett and Amy R. Connolly
Suspected gunman charged with 1st-degree murder in Washington state mall shooting
Arcan Cetin, a 20-year-old Turkish man who emigrated to the United States several years ago, has been arrested in connection with the shooting deaths of five people in a Washington State mall Friday night. Photo courtesy of Washington State Patrol Sgt. Mark Francis/Twitter

BURLINGTON, Wash., Sept. 25 (UPI) -- A 20-year-old man who was found wandering the streets in a "zombie-like" state is being held on five counts of first-degree murder in the shootings death of five people at a Washington mall.

Arcan Cetin is being held on no bail. He was turned over to the Skagit County Sheriff's Office, Island County authorities confirmed. Authorities have yet to identify a motive, said Sgt. Mark Francis of the Washington State Patrol. Cetin, booked in to the Skagit County Jail, will likely make his first court appearance on Monday. His family is cooperating with police, officials said.


Using surveillance video and tips from the public, the Oak Harbor, Wa., man was arrested after authorities spotted him walking along a street, the Seattle Times reported. It was the result of a 20-hour manhunt.

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The shooter can be seen on surveillance video walking in to the mall Friday night unarmed about 10 minutes before the shooting, reported. Police believe he went back to the car to retrieve a rifle.

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Police and emergency medical personnel responded quickly, bringing bomb-sniffing dogs and a helicopter to surround the mall, but the suspect had already fled on foot. He was first reported to be a Hispanic male.

The shootings occurred just before 7 p.m. local time Friday at the mall, about 65 miles north of Seattle -- and just 45 miles south of the U.S.-Canada border.

When Cetin was spotted Saturday, police moved in.

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"As we were driving by, I see the fella walking across the street and I go, 'Oh, that's him,'" said Lt. Mike Hawley, of the Island County Sheriff's Office. "So, I whipped a real quick U-turn and hit the lights, pulled my gun and he was under arrest." Hawlin said Cetin was almost "like a zombie," and was unarmed.

"I said, 'you're under arrest' and he didn't say much -- well, he didn't say anything at all," Hawley said. "He was carrying a little leather satchel with a computer in it and that's about it. He didn't say much at all."

Cetin has a record of domestic violence against his step father and was told by a judge in December 2015 not to possess a firearm. He emigrated to the United States from Turkey when he was a child and was a local high school graduate,

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The youngest of the mall shooting victims, Sarai Lara, was 16. The Mount Vernon High School sophomore, known as a happy, responsible student who had survived cancer as a young girl, was shopping at the mall with her mother, Evangelina Lara, and a younger sister. They split up to go to different stores.

Sarai went to Macy's, then the shooting occurred. Her mother said she tried to get to Sarai, but was blocked from entering the shooting scene.

"I never expected this to happen to someone that I knew and that I cared about," said Sarai Lara's friend, Rachel Marsh.

A family member identified Belinda Galde, 64, and her mother, Beatrice Dotson, 95, also as shooting victims.

Galde, a longtime probation officer, was remembered as a caring person. "She was an amazingly kind and caring individual who was much adored by her friends, her coworkers and the thousands of probationers who she helped find a better way to live.," the Skagit County court said in a statement.

Shayla Martin, a 52-year-old Macy's makeup artist, also was shot.

Karen Van Horn, Martin's sister who is an employee at The Herald in Everett, described her as an avid reader who was both classy and practical. "She was so sweet," Van Horn said.. "She was just very independent. She wanted to make her own way. She didn't want to rely on anyone else."


Chuck Eagan, a longtime Boeing maintenance worker from Lake Stevens, was also a victim, according to his aunt, Carol Thrush. She said Eagan and his wife had gone out to dinner and to the mall to shop and had made their way to Macy's when the shooter began his rampage.

Thrush said Eagan and his wife began running, but his wife fell down as the two tried to get away. When Eagan stopped to help his wife, he was shot, Thrush said.

People in the area gathered Saturday to mourn the victims. About 50 mourners gathered at Central United Methodist Church in Sedro-Woolley to pray. Pastor Cody Natland lit a candle for each of the five killed, then invited congregants to call out prayers to the people they were thinking about.

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