Sunday 11 December 2016

Mall shooting suspect was 'like a zombie' when arrested

Published 25/09/2016 | 07:50

This Friday, Sept. 23, 2016 frame from surveillance video provided by the Washington State Patrol shows the suspect in a shooting rampage at the Cascade Mall in Burlington, Wash
This Friday, Sept. 23, 2016 frame from surveillance video provided by the Washington State Patrol shows the suspect in a shooting rampage at the Cascade Mall in Burlington, Wash

The man suspected of carrying out the Washington mall shooting that left five people dead was "zombie-like" when he was captured, the police officer who spotted him has said.

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Lieutenant Mike Hawley of the state's Island County sheriff's department said he saw Arcan Cetin in Oak Harbour, Washington, from a patrol car and immediately recognised him as the suspect.

Lt Hawley told a news conference that his office had received information that Cetin, 20, from Oak Harbour, was in the area. He said Cetin, 20, was unarmed, adding: "He said nothing. He was kind of zombie-like."

A gunman opened fire at the Cascade Mall in Burlington on Friday night, killing four women and a man before fleeing.

Arcan Cetin, 20, of Oak Harbor is seen in a Washington State Department of Licensing photo released by the Washington State Patrol after they announced his capture in relation to a mass shooting in Burlington, Washington, U.S. September 24, 2016
Arcan Cetin, 20, of Oak Harbor is seen in a Washington State Department of Licensing photo released by the Washington State Patrol after they announced his capture in relation to a mass shooting in Burlington, Washington, U.S. September 24, 2016

Read More: Gunman still at large as five killed and others injured at US shopping mall

Police staged a massive search over more than 20 hours for the suspect, initially described by witnesses as a young Hispanic man wearing black.

An image taken from security video shows the gunman who opened fire in the Cascade Mall in Burlington, Washington on Friday night
An image taken from security video shows the gunman who opened fire in the Cascade Mall in Burlington, Washington on Friday night

Authorities had said that a rifle had been found at the shooting scene.

The motive for the shooting at the mall, about 60 miles north of Seattle, was unknown. The FBI was assisting local authorities, but said there was no evidence pointing to terrorism.

An image taken from security video shows the gunman who opened fire in the Cascade Mall in Burlington, Washington
An image taken from security video shows the gunman who opened fire in the Cascade Mall in Burlington, Washington

Dozens of people attended a prayer service for the victims on Saturday night at Central United Methodist Church in Sedro-Woolley, Washington.

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

One of the shooting victims was 16-year-old Sarai Lara. Her mother Evangelina Lara said she had survived cancer and was a happy student, according to The Seattle Times.

Ms Lara said she was shopping at mall with Sarai and her younger sister, but they split up, with Sarai going to Macy's looking for trousers.

News of the shooting spread through the mall and Ms Lara tried to find her daughter but was unable to do so.

It was confirmed at 2am on Saturday that Sarai was among the five people killed.

Lt Chris Cammock of Mount Vernon Police Department said Cetin, who is expected to appear in court on Monday, was from Turkey but a "legal, permanent resident of the United States".

Authorities said he had a previous arrest for simple assault.

The suspect has a criminal record that includes domestic-violence assault charges, according to reports.

The Seattle Times said Skagit County court records show three such charges for the 20-year-old in both Burlington, Washington, and Island County, with the victim identified as Cetin's stepfather. The newspaper reports Cetin also was arrested for drunk-driving.

Court records show Cetin was told by a judge on December 29 last year that he was not to possess a firearm, the newspaper reported.

However, the stepfather urged the judge not to impose a no-contact order, saying his stepson was "going through a hard time".

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