An intense 24-hour hunt for the man suspected of shooting and killing five people at a mall north of Seattle came to an uneventful and abrupt end Saturday night when he was found walking down a street in his home city.
One of the arresting officers, Lt. Mike Hawley of the Island County Sheriff’s Office, said Mr. Cetin “said nothing” as he was taken into custody. “He was just kind of zombielike.”
The arrest helped put this forested corner of northwest Washington state at ease, but many questions remain unanswered. Police said they still don’t know the motive in the killings or if Mr. Cetin knew any of his alleged victims.
Four women ranging from the teens to senior-citizen age were killed, police said. One man in his 60s later died at a Seattle hospital.
A police officer stood guard at a side entrance of the Cascade Mall in Burlington, Wash., on Saturday. Law-enforcement officials on Saturday night said police had arrested a man in connection with a Friday night shooting at the mall that left five people dead. ENLARGE
A police officer stood guard at a side entrance of the Cascade Mall in Burlington, Wash., on Saturday. Law-enforcement officials on Saturday night said police had arrested a man in connection with a Friday night shooting at the mall that left five people dead. PHOTO: TED S. WARREN/ASSOCIATED PRESS
Police had launched a massive manhunt to find the alleged shooter. Surveillance video showed a man in the mall with a rifle and, initially, police said they were searching for a suspect of Hispanic descent, based on eyewitness reports. They distributed a photo showing a man with thick, closely cut black hair.
However, Mr. Cetin immigrated from Turkey and is now “a legal permanent resident” in the U.S., said Mount Vernon police Lt. Chris Cammock at a news conference late Saturday.
Federal investigators said Friday night that there were no indications of terrorism, but they couldn’t discount that as a possibility.
When asked about terrorism Saturday night, Lt. Cammock said: “I am not going to rule out anything at this point.”
Police are also still determining who owns the rifle used in the shooting, Lt. Cammock said.
Mr. Cetin was booked Saturday in county jail on an investigative hold and is expected to be charged next week.
As police scoured northern Washington for the suspect, hundreds of tips poured in, including one that identified Mr. Cetin, Lt. Cammock said.
A close-up of the man police said was wanted in connection with the shooting at the Cascade Mall. ENLARGE
A close-up of the man police said was wanted in connection with the shooting at the Cascade Mall. PHOTO: EUROPEAN PRESSPHOTO AGENCY
Surveillance video from outside the mall also showed Mr. Cetin’s vehicle, which helped investigators identify him, he said.
Investigators believe Mr. Cetin drove away from the scene after the shooting, but didn’t go far. At some point, Mr. Cetin traveled to the island city of Oak Harbor.
Lt. Hawley, of the Island County Sheriff’s Office, said he was driving along an Oak Harbor street when he spotted Mr. Cetin—just minutes after seeing his photo on an office computer.
Lt. Hawley said he slammed on the brakes, pulled a U-turn, hopped out of his car, and drew his gun. Mr. Cetin froze and Lt. Hawley and a colleague handcuffed him.
Mr. Cetin wasn’t armed when he was arrested and had a bag with a computer inside, Lt. Hawley said.
Oak Harbor, about 50 miles north of Seattle, is the largest city on Whidbey Island, a weekend getaway spot for Seattleites. The island is accessed from the south by ferry, though there is a bridge at the northern end of the island, about 30 miles from Burlington, where the shooting occurred.
Vigils were held Saturday in Burlington, a town of about 8,000 some 60 miles north of Seattle. “We suffered a devastating loss of five treasured members of our community,” said Burlington Mayor Steve Sexton. “That was us in that mall last night, any one of us…it changed those families forever.”