Post by: Chief News Editor | Published: September 27, 2016 , 8:21 am | Category: WORLD
Washington, U.S.A.-The man accused of fatally shooting five people in a mall here confessed to police and was charged Monday with five counts of premeditated murder, according to court records.
Arcan Cetin appeared in Skagit County District Court on Monday to face charges for the deaths of four women and a man. Cetin spoke only to answer the judge’s questions. He is being held on a $2 million bond.
An arrest affidavit says Cetin’s parents told police he took a .22-caliber rifle and ammunition from his father’s home.
Surveillance video from the mall showed the suspect walking into the Macy’s store on Friday evening, shooting the five people, placing the rifle on the cosmetics counter, and then walking out.
Police arrested the Turkish immigrant, 20, on Saturday night about 29 miles southwest of Burlington in his nearby hometown of Oak Harbor following an intense, 20-hour manhunt. Tips from the public helped police arrest Cetin, a legal, permanent resident, after officials distributed blurry photos of the suspect, said Lt. Chris Cammock of the Mount Vernon Police Department.
The motive remained unclear. Cetin’s ex-girlfriend used to work at the store, but hasn’t in several months and lives in another county.
No evidence pointed to terrorism, said Michael Knutson, assistant special agent in charge of the Seattle FBI.
In an affidavit, Mount Vernon, Wash., Police Officer Officer Dave Shackleton said Cetin confessed after being advised of his rights to remain silent and have an attorney.
“During a post-Miranda interview with detectives, Cetin said that it was him in the video and he did bring the rifle into Macy’s and shot all five victims,” Shackleton said in the affidavit.
Three times in court, Cetin responded “Yes, your honor,” during his brief appearance alongside his court-appointed public defender. As the judge told Cetin he could face life imprisonment, Cetin appeared to look around the small crowded courtroom, his eyes at one point darting to the cameras recording the proceedings. With his hands shackled, Cetin signed a court document acknowledging the charges against him and was then escorted from the room by deputies, as a spectator in the courtroom dabbed her eyes with a tissue.
Cetin has a criminal record that includes three assault charges related to domestic violence, his stepfather being the victim, the Seattle Times reported. Cetin also was arrested on a drunken driving charge, the Times said.
A judge told Cetin on Dec. 29 that he could not possess a firearm, according to the Times. His stepfather convinced the judge not to impose a no-contact order. He said his stepson was “going through a hard time.”
Speaking outside the courthouse Monday, Cetin’s stepfather, David Marshall, said the family is “totally devastated by what has happened. We are torn up. We are hurt, and that’s all I can say.”
He said his stepson “has had mental health issues that we have been trying to work on with him. That’s all I can say.”
The mall, which had been closed since the shooting, reopened Monday morning, although the Macy’s remains closed.
“The healing is in process,” Burlington Mayor Steve Sexton said.
Sexton, who attended Monday’s court hearing with victims’ families, said seeing the suspect in court “made it very real.” He said investigators have not disclosed any additional information about a possible motive.
“I’m reticent to get inside that head and try to figure that out,” Sexton said. “I’m not as concerned about the motive as I am about trying to help those families out.”
The city of about 10,000 cancelled its annual fall festival scheduled for that Saturday as police searched for the killer, and Sexton said city and mall officials are trying to decide how to honor the memories of the dead while helping their families, and offering the community a chance to come together. That could mean rescheduling the festival for later in the year, and at a park closer to the mall, he said.
One of the victims was a 16-year-old girl who beat cancer, the Seattle Times and KOMO-TV reported. Sarai Lara was shopping for pants with her younger sister, her mother, Evangelina Lara, told the Times through a translator. They got split up.
Belinda Galde and Beatrice Dotson, a mother and daughter, both died in the cosmetics section of the Macy’s department store where the shooting occurred.
The Seattle Times reported other victims were Shayla Martin, 52, a Macy’s employee, and Chuck Eagan, a Boeing employee who was just about to retire. Eagan and his wife began running when the shooter opened fire. His wife fell down. Eagan stopped to help her, and was shot.
A memorial outside the mall, piled with flowers and candles and signs, has drawn mourners since the shooting, and a candlelight vigil was set for 7 p.m. Monday local time. Rachel Schuler and her family, who live near the mall, stopped by to pay respects to the victims Sunday.
“It still doesn’t seem real,” said Schuler, “I never thought anything like this could happen in our community.”
NEWS COLLECTED FROM USA TODAY.