A gunman killed four people Friday night inside the Macy’s store at Cascade Mall in Burlington, about an hour and 20 minutes north of Seattle, and a fifth victim died hours later at a Seattle hospital.
More than two dozen law enforcement agencies joined the search for the shooting suspect, who was arrested Saturday evening and identified as Arcan Cetin. Below is a timeline of how the story developed.
FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 23
6:52 p.m.: A man with a rifle is seen walking through Macy’s with a rifle, later described by investigators as a Ruger 10/22 with a 25-round magazine. The shooter entered the Macy’s women’s department through the west entrance and was inside the mall for approximately one minute during the shooting spree. The shooter shot a 16-year-old girl first near some clothing racks, then walked toward the cosmetics counter. He shot a man, then shot three other women, police wrote in investigation documents released after the attack. The shooter left the Ruger on the cosmetics counter, exited the Macy's store through the west entrance and get into a blue four-door vehicle, surveillance video showed. The vehicle traveled north on South Burlington Boulevard near Cascade Place and was last seen on South Burlington Boulevard near West Fairhaven Avenue, according to court documents.
6:58 p.m.: A 911 dispatcher receives the first call about the active shooter. He was described as wearing black clothing and carrying a rifle. More than 26 agencies respond and about 200 law enforcement personnel were there at the height of the incident. The State Patrol later said video showed the man entering the mall without a weapon and reappeared on Macy’s surveillance video carrying a rifle. Witnesses told police he took a rifle from his trunk of his blue four-door sedan, which was initially reported as either a Kia or Hyundai.
7:06 p.m. Breaking Skagit first tweets initial details from the scanner about a shooting at Macy’s, telling people to stay clear of the Cascade Mall, which is at 201 Cascade Mall Drive in Burlington, about an hour and 20 minutes from downtown Seattle.
7:09 p.m. KIRO 7 hears scanner traffic about the active shooter. Preparations start to be live on TV, Facebook and kiro7.com once the information is confirmed by police.
7:33 p.m.: State Patrol Sgt. Mark Francis, the agency spokesman for Skagit County, confirms an active shooter, tweeting the description: “Hispanic male wearing grey. Last seen walking towards I5 from Cascade Mall Burlington.”
Active shooter description: Hispanic male wearing grey. Last seen walking towards I5 from Cascade Mall burlington.— Sgt. Mark Francis (@wspd7pio) September 24, 2016
7:43 p.m.: The Skagit County Department of Emergency Management tweets for people to avoid the Cascade Mall area in Burlington and follow all road closures.
7:48 p.m.: KIRO 7 breaks into regular programming with news of the shooting, the mall lockdown and the wanted suspect. Details are posted on KIRO 7 social media accounts and kiro7.com. Live coverage continues on kiro7.com and KIRO 7 News apps and OTT devices until 11:30 p.m. Broadcast TV coverage stays on until 8 p.m., and is followed by cut-ins to regular programming as updates are given. Commercials are eliminated from the 11 p.m. broadcast for a State Patrol update confirming four victims and one injured. Use this link to watch the full coverage.
7:55 p.m.: Sgt. Francis tweets that he is at the mall and tells media to look for updates on his Twitter account instead of by phone because of the volume of calls.
8:03 p.m.: Sgt. Francis confirms four people are dead in the mall and the shooter or shooters left the scene before police arrived. Francis said there may be one shooter, but the total number is unknown. He also tweets that police are clearing the mall.
4 confirmed deceased in the mall, shooter(s) left scene b4 police arrived, unknown # of shooter, possibly just 1, police clearing mall now— Sgt. Mark Francis (@wspd7pio) September 24, 2016
8:04 p.m.: Reporter and photographers begins staging in the southwest corner of the Cascade Mall parking lot.
8:24 p.m.: Medics enter the mall with a police escort after police initially checked the mall for the shooter. Francis tweets that they are holding out hope the number of deceased goes down. It does not.
9:01 p.m.: Police dogs were dispatched to the AMC Theatres at Cascade Mall for a secondary search.
9:02 p.m.: Skagit County scanner traffic discuss a possible suspect two blocks west of the Cascade Mall on Markwood Road.
9:12 p.m.: The first picture of the shooting suspect is released on the Skagit County Department of Emergency Management’s Twitter account. It is a cropped image of the suspect holding a rifle.
9:15 p.m.: A full frame of the suspected shooter photo is obtained by KIRO 7 and tweeted. The image, which was previously cropped by authorities, shows the suspect holding a rifle.
Screen grab of suspect in Cascade Mall shooting confirmed by authorities. pic.twitter.com/kxZQq1T15C— KIRO 7 (@KIRO7Seattle) September 24, 2016
9:20 p.m.: The same cropped image of the wanted shooting suspect is distributed by the State Patrol, through Francis’ Twitter account.
9:26 p.m.: After talking with investigations, people who were inside the mall leave the scene for His Place Community Church.
9:29 p.m.: Gov. Jay Inslee tweets “tragedy has struck in Washington tonight. Our hearts are in Burlington where a shooter has taken the lives of at least four people.” He said queions remain, but that troopers and law enforcement are working swiftly to locate the shooter. Inslee asks for people to follow the detour warnings and to stay close to friends and loved ones as we await more information. “Trudi and I send our condolences to the families of the victims and prayers for anyone injured.”
9:35 p.m.: Francis changed the number of dead, saying three women were killed at the Cascade Mall. He said one female with non-life threatening injuries was at a local hospital, and a man was being flown to Harborview Medical Center, the regional trauma center, with life-threatening injuries. He did not have specific ages or immediately know if it was a targeted attack. Francis said the shooter hand a long gun, but did not give caliber. He asked people to stay inside their homes.
10:07 p.m.: The Seattle Mariners tweet that “Our thoughts are with those affected by the tragedy tonight at Cascade Mall. For those in Burlington, please stay safe.”
10:10 p.m.: Skagit County Department of Emergency Management’s Twitter account tells people to come back Saturday to get their vehicles at the Cascade Mall.
10:38 p.m.: The FBI said they’re assisting in the case, and that they have no information to suggest additional attacks were planned in Washington State.
10:50 p.m.: Francis said police were “about 2/3 of the way through doing the final clear” of the mall. There were “a lot of locked doors and room that had to be opened.” Francis later clarifies that the mall is 434,000 square feet with secure rooms and doors.
10:52 p.m.: A witness who said she was in a fitting room during the Cascade Mall shooting said the lone man shooter was yelling a female’s name as he shot people.
10:58 p.m.: Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said he is “deeply saddened by the tragedy in Burlington tonight. Thoughts and prayers go out to all affected by this horrific event.”
Deeply saddened by the tragedy in Burlington tonight. Thoughts and prayers go out to all affected by this horrific event.— Pete Carroll (@PeteCarroll) September 24, 2016
11:11 p.m.: Francis said 11 search teams were 90 percent complete on their building search. Two canine teams were on the perimeter “still actively searching for (the) suspect throughout the area.”
11:21 p.m.: The official count of deceased changed again. Francis said four women were killed in Macy’s. One man was flown to Harborview. Francis said the mall search went from the south to the north. Still no word on a motive.
SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 24
12:22 a.m. A law enforcement helicopter remains in the air searching for the suspect.
3:28 a.m.: The State Patrol confirms the fifth victim, the man flown to Harborview Medical Center, died.
Sadly the male and 5th victim who was taken to Harborview has passed away #CascadeMallShooting— Sgt. Mark Francis (@wspd7pio) September 24, 2016
4:30 a.m. The full search of the Cascade Mall is completed. Surrounding parking lots remain closed during the investigation.
8:04 a.m.: A multi-agency police briefing begins across from Burlington Police Department headquarters. Mt. Vernon Police Lt. Chris Cammock said the shooter entered the mall without a weapon, then reappeared 10 minutes later in Macy’s with a rifle. The victims ranged in age from a teenager to a senior.
8:13 a.m.: Burlington Mayor Steve Sexton said “the city of Burlington is probably changed forever, but I don’t think our way of life needs to change in our community.” He praises law enforcement who responded to the senseless act and said “now our support goes with them to help them extend the long arm of the law to bring the son of a bitch to justice who did this to our community.”
8:15 a.m.: Cammock said the suspect appears to be a man in his late teens to mid-20s. He said police have been getting a number of tips, but nothing that’s led to an arrest. Asked specifically if investigators knew his name, Cammock said: “We do not have an identity on the individual yet, and we could certainly use the community’s help on that.”
8:17 a.m.: KIRO 7 reporter Jeff Dubois asked Cammock why authorities think the shooting suspect is Hispanic. “I think that’s conclusions drawn by people who have looked at the photograph,” he said. “Dark hair. Photographs aren’t exact replicas because we’re taking it off of security footage, but (it) appears to be a little bit darker complected, so I suppose the race could be anything in there. But I think that’s why conclusions are being drawn.” He encourages reporters to look at the photo and see what conclusions they draw. In court documents released September 26, police said the Hispanic description came from 911 callers who said the shooter was possibly a Hispanic man dressed in grayish clothing.
8:19 a.m.: There is no evidence that the Cascade Mall shooting was a terrorist attack, said Michael Knutsen, assistant special agent in charge of the Seattle FBI office. Knutsen said he can’t discount that, but can’t conclude the shooting was a terrorist act.
8:40 a.m.: The Skagit County Department of Emergency Management asks people with information to call police at (360) 428-3211 or email@example.com. Additional photos of the shooting suspect are tweeted.
8:58 a.m.: A vigil forms at Maiben Park at 1011 E. Greenleaf Ave. in Burlington.
9:12 a.m.: Francis tweeted additional suspect photos using the hashtag #CascadeMallShooting
10:22 a.m.: State Patrol spokesman Kyle Moore said multiple agencies were reconstructing the entire mall scene, conducting forensic scanning and collecting evidence. Detectives continued to ask for tips and leads from the public.
2:19 p.m.: The Skagit County Medical Examiner’s office staff entered the Cascade Mall. Friends of possible victims continue to contact KIRO 7. Authorities said official family notifications had not been made.
2:23 p.m.: State Patrol spokesman Kyle Moore tells reporter Amy Clancy it’s very possible we may not get any new information “until there’s a break in the case.” He said no news conferences are scheduled because they don’t know anything more than they knew at 8 a.m. this morning and that the suspect has not been identified. Investigators were going through all surveillance images/video to see if a clearer image is available to be shared.
3:22 p.m.: Am alert was sent to riders on nine Washington State Ferry routes saying law enforcement is looking to help identify the active shooter involved in the Cascade Mall shooting. “If you can help,” the message reads, “please contact 911.” Authorities did not elaborate if they think the shooter took a ferry. The routes the message were sent to were: Anacortes/Sidney B.C.; Anacortes/San Juan Islands; Port Townsend/Coupeville; Mukilteo/Clinton; Edmonds/Kingston; Seattle/Bainbridge Island; Seattle/Bremerton; Fauntleroy (West Seattle)/Vashon/Southworth; Pt. Defiance/Tahlequah. The message was sent to ferry subscription message accounts.
6:20 p.m.: Police contact a suspect in Oak Harbor. Charging documents released two days later show he was stopped in a blue 2005 Chevrolet Cavalier, thought to be what the suspect used to drive away from the Cascade Mall.
6:24 p.m.: KIRO 7 gets the name of a possible suspect being investigated in Oak Harbor.
6:25 p.m.: As the newscast is about to being, KIRO 7 learns that the person has been arrested. Staff identify possible court records for the young man. His name and arrest are not included in the broadcast because his connection to the case has not been confirmed.
6:29 p.m.: On the evening newscast, three of the victims are identified by KIRO 7 reporter Deborah Horne, who talked to their family and friends. One is Sarai Lara, a 16-year-old sophomore at Mount Vernon High School. She was at the mall with her dad, who stepped outside just before the shooting happened. The other victims identified were Belinda Galde and her 95-year-old mother, Beatrice Dotson. They were shopping in the mall together when the shooting happened.
6:34 p.m.: A possible Twitter account for the arrested man is found. KIRO 7 staff continue to research him in court files and online, and draft a story that could be used after law enforcement sources confirm the name. A Facebook page is also found, on which the man says he is from Turkey.
7 p.m.: A community gathering hosted by the Melodic Caring Project begins at His Place Community Church, where survivors of the shooting were taken the previous night.
7:06 p.m.: KIRO 7 interrupts regular programming -- The Steve Raible Scouting Report -- to deliver news that a person of interest in the Cascade Mall shooting was arrested.
7:09 p.m.: The first picture of the arrest scene is broadcast.
7:13 p.m.: A second picture of the arrest is broadcast on KIRO 7 and KIRO 7’s digital platforms, including Facebook Live. The cut-in report is streamed on kiro7.com and Facebook Live via KIRO 7’s Facebook page from 7:06 p.m. until 10:05 p.m. Follow this link for the first video clip, and this link for the second Facebook Live.
7:17 p.m.: The State Patrol tweets that the Cascade Mall shooter is in custody. KIRO 7 now calls the man a suspect instead of a person of interest. State Patrol spokespeople do not release his name.
#cascademallshooter is in custody. More details coming.— WA State Patrol (@wastatepatrol) September 25, 2016
7:18 p.m.: Troopers announce a press briefing across from Burlington Police headquarters later Saturday night.
7:24 p.m.: The Skagit County Department of Emergency Management tweets that the suspect in custody.
7:28 p.m.: Francis tweets that the gunman was captured by authorities. He does not include the gunman's name.
7:29 p.m.: KIRO 7 returns to regularly scheduled programming, but continues livestreaming updates on kiro7.com, KIRO 7’s OTT devices and Facebook Live.
7:31 p.m.: A second law enforcement source confirms the name of the man arrested, and KIRO 7 broadcasts the name of the shooting suspect: Arcan Cetin. This is the name KIRO began investigating at 6:24 p.m. In the nearly 24 hours since the shooting, more than a dozen incorrect names were sent as tips to KIRO 7. Police also said multiple people who were not the shooter called 911 claiming to be the person responsible.
7:56 p.m.: Through Francis' Twitter account, the State Patrol announces the press briefing will be at 9:30 p.m.
8:47 p.m.: Francis make the official announcement from the State Patrol identifying Cetin as the Cascade Mall shooting suspect.
OFFICIAL: Here is a DOL photo of the suspect: Arcan Cetin, 20-yr-old Oak Harbor resident. pic.twitter.com/fypj6aBBJ2— Sgt. Mark Francis (@wspd7pio) September 25, 2016
9:33 p.m.: KIRO 7 again interrupts regular programming to broadcast the press briefing live with Skagit County authorities and Gov. Jay Inslee.
9:35 p.m.: Cammock said police received a tip earlier Saturday about Cetin, who he did not identify by name. Family members and acquaintances were interviewed. “It grew a stronger connection for us,” Cammock said. Investigators also reviewed security footage from outside the mall and area businesses. From that footage police were able to identify a suspect vehicle. Cammock said information was put out to Island County Sheriff’s Office and the city of Oak Harbor – city officials – and Cetin was arrested about 6:30 p.m. Cammock did not give the specific time of when the information was distributed among authorities. Details of Cetin's vehicle are not given in the briefing, but court documents released September 26 showed Cetin drove a blue four-door Chevrolet Cavalier with damage to the driver's side rear quarter panel near the fender.
9:36 p.m.: Cammock identifies Cetin by name. A motive is not given. In court documents released on September 26, police said they went to Cetin’s father’s residence after getting tips Saturday morning and his father said he was missing his Ruger 10/22 and also was missing .22 ammunition. The documents also show Cetin’s mother identified him from the shooting suspect images. Cetin’s mother last saw him at his apartment on September 21. Cetin’s father told police he had dinner with him about 4:30 p.m. Friday, roughly two hours before the shooting, according to investigators.
9:37 p.m.: Island County Sheriff's Lt. Mike Hawley said as he was looking at the suspect’s picture and information, he heard on a police radio that the suspect’s vehicle was seen by Oak Harbor police. It was not occupied at the time. Hawley and others went to help. At the corner of 7th Avenue Northeast and Oak Harbor Road “I saw an individual walking northbound on the sidewalk and I instantly recognized that that is the person I just viewed on my computer,” Hawley said. He did an abrupt U-turn, hit his lights, pulled his gun, and took Cetin into custody with a reserve deputy. Cetin had a satchel with a computer inside, but no weapon. Oak Harbor and Mount Vernon police arrived shortly after and took custody of Cetin. “He said nothing,” Hawley said. “He was kind of zombie-like.”
9:44 p.m.: As the police briefing continues in Burlington, KIRO 7 photographer Jeff Ritter records Cetin being moved in a red jumpsuit at the Skagit County Jail. In an interview that night with police, “Cetin said that it was him in the [surveillance] video,” investigators wrote in his arrest warrant declaration, “and he did bring the rifle into Macy’s and shot all 5 victims.”
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