Cascade Mall gunman confesses to killing five people, according to police

Cascade Mall shooting suspect makes first appearance in court

Arcan Cetin, the 20-year-old suspect in the deadly shooting at Cascade Mall in Burlington, makes his first appearance in Skagit County Superior Court on Monday, Sept. 26, 2016. Five people died in the shooting.
Up Next
Arcan Cetin, the 20-year-old suspect in the deadly shooting at Cascade Mall in Burlington, makes his first appearance in Skagit County Superior Court on Monday, Sept. 26, 2016. Five people died in the shooting.

Authorities say the gunman in the deadly Cascade Mall shooting on Friday, Sept. 23, took less than a minute to shoot all five victims before he left the store and fled in a car.

Arcan Cetin (AHR-zjan CHET-in), 20, made his first appearance Monday, Sept. 26, in Skagit County Superior Court where Judge David Svaren set bail at $2 million.

According to court documents, Cetin confessed to detectives that “he did bring the rifle into Macy’s and shot all five victims.”

The victims were identified as:

▪  Belinda Galde, a 64-year-old from Arlington who worked as a probation officer for Snohomish County District Courts.

▪  Beatrice Dotson, 95, who was Belinda’s mother.

▪  Shayla Martin, 52, of Mount Vernon, a makeup artist at Macy’s.

▪  Chuck Eagan, 60, a Boeing maintenance worker from Lake Stevens and father of two.

▪  Sarai Lara, a 16-year-old sophomore at Mount Vernon High School. She survived cancer as a child, according to KOMO News in Seattle.

Cetin faces five counts of first-degree premeditated murder.

Security footage showed the shooter first walked into the Macy’s without a rifle, returned to a car, retrieved a .22-caliber Ruger rifle from the trunk, and went back inside to open fire, police said at a news conference over the weekend. The first victim, the teenager, was shot near a row of clothing racks.

Cetin then walked to the cosmetics counter where “he encountered and shot the adult male victim, then shot three adult female victims.”

After the shooting, the gunman placed the rifle with a 25-round magazine on top of a cosmetics counter, exited the store, and fled the Cascade Mall in his car, according to police.

Cetin was arrested Saturday evening following a 24-hour manhunt when Island County sheriff’s Lt. Michael Hawley recognized him walking on the sidewalk in Oak Harbor. Hawley recalled he hit the brakes and pulled over with a reserve deputy to make the high-risk arrest.

Cetin’s demeanor, Hawley said, was “kind of zombie-like.” Cetin stood still and said nothing. He was not armed. He carried a leather satchel with a computer in it.

The motive for the shooting remains unclear.

Cetin had three domestic assault charges on his record where his stepfather is listed as the victim, the Seattle Times reported. He also was arrested on a drunken driving charge, the Times said. His parents told reporters gathered outside the courthouse Sunday that they were totally devastated by what happened at the mall.

“Arcan has had mental health issues that we have been trying to work on with him – that’s all I can say,” his stepfather told reporters Monday.

On Sunday investigators searched Cetin’s vehicle and the apartment complex and were seen carrying boxes from a rear, upstairs unit. The four-unit building was surrounded with yellow police tape. Detectives would not say what they found.

A neighbor, Amber Cathey, 21, described Cetin as so “creepy, rude and obnoxious” that she kept a Taser by her front door. Cathey lived in an apartment next to Cetin for the past three months. She said she complained to apartment management about Cetin, and blocked him on Snapchat after he sent her a photo of his crotch.

She said she would try to avoid him by walking the long way around to her apartment if she saw his car in the parking lot. The two were in high school together as well, and Cathey said he acted the same way then.

Others schoolmates recalled troubling behavior toward young women.

“In high school he started harassing kids and not being a nice person, so I disassociated with him,” former classmate Austin Hendrix, 19, told the Seattle Times. “He would grope women in high school and middle school.”

Court records show Cetin has hadn more than a half-dozen criminal cases in Island County alone since 2013. Cetin immigrated to the U.S. from Turkey as a child, officials said. He is a legal permanent resident.

On Monday a public defender was appointed to represent him.

Caleb Hutton: 360-715-2276, @bhamcaleb

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

Related stories from Bellingham Herald