Washington Mall Shooting Investigation Underway

Washington Mall Shooting Investigation UnderwayWashington Mall Shooting Investigation Underway

Authorities say they are still working to determine what prompted the suspect to open fire in a Washington state mall.

Police report the assailant said nothing, but was “zombie-like” during his arrest.

Authorities said on Sunday what motivated the suspect to open fire at the Cascade Mall on Friday night local time remains unclear. The Federal Bureau of Investigation said it had no indication the attack was a “terrorism act”, but it could not be ruled out.

Lieutenant Chris Cammock of the Mount Vernon police department said authorities were not ready to speculate on a possible motive in the deadly mall shooting inside a Macy’s department store, AP reported.

“I’m not going to rule out anything at this point because we’re only 24 hours [into the investigation],” he said.

Island County Sheriff’s Lieutenant Mike Hawley told reporters Saturday night that he spotted 20-year-old Arcan Cetin in Oak Harbor, Washington, from a patrol car at about 6:30 p.m. Saturday (0100 UTC Sunday).

Hawley said he immediately recognized him as the suspect from earlier tips to police. He said Cetin was unarmed: “He said nothing. He was kind of zombie-like.”

Few details had been released leading up to the arrest. Cetin was born in Turkey and had immigrated to the United States with his family where he is a legal permanent resident.

A man fitting Cetin’s description and armed with a rifle opened fire late Friday at the Cascade Mall in the city of Burlington, about 97 kilometers north of Seattle. Four women and a man were killed before the gunman fled leading to a 20-hour manhunt.

“Last night we suffered an attack on our community and it really defined to me what a community is,” Steve Sexton, the mayor of Burlington, told reporters, saying he was grateful to the local, state and federal authorities who had responded to the crisis.

“I can’t imagine what it would be like if Burlington was on its own with this. I can’t imagine we’d have a suspect in custody now if we were on our own.”

Washington Governor Jay Inslee, flanked by local and state law enforcement, said the entire state stood in solidarity with Burlington, a city of less than 9,000 people.

Authorities said Cetin’s family was cooperating with investigators. But since the investigation is so fresh, details about the firearm, the man’s relationships and work history were not being released.

Cetin has been detained in the Skagit County Jail on a 72-hour hold and is expected to appear in court as early as Monday when he is formally charged.