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City ‘changed forever’ as authorities hunt mall gunman

  • ASSOCIATED PRESS

    This video image provided by Skagit County Department of Emergency Management shows a suspect wanted by the authorities regarding a shooting at the Cascade Mall in Burlington, Wash., Friday, Sept. 23, 2016. Authorities in Washington State say several people have been killed during a shooting at a mall north of Seattle and that at least one suspect remains at large.

BURLINGTON, Wash. >> A gunman police said killed five people in a Washington state mall remained at large Saturday as authorities appealed for help in identifying the suspect but said there were no indications the slayings north of Seattle were a terrorist act.

People fled, customers hid in dressing rooms and employees locked the doors of nearby stores after gunshots rang out just after 7 p.m. Friday at the Cascade Mall. A helicopter, search teams and K-9 units scoured the area for a rifle-carrying man in a police response that included more than 200 officers.

“There are people waking up this morning and their world has changed forever,” Burlington Mayor Steve Sexton said Saturday at a news conference. “The city of Burlington has probably changed forever.”

Authorities said four females, ranging in age from teens to seniors, died after the gunman opened fire in the makeup department of a Macy’s store. An adult male who was wounded in the shooting died early Saturday, officials said. His age was not given and no identifications of the victims were released

Police said they were looking for a man dressed in black and last seen walking toward Interstate 5. The description, including that he appeared to be Hispanic, was based on statements from witnesses, said Given Kutz, a spokesman for the Skagit County Emergency Operations Center.

“We do not have an identity on the individual yet,” said Mount Vernon Police Lt. Chris Cammock. “We could certainly use the community’s help.”

Authorities said the motive was unknown for the shooting about 60 miles (97 kilometers) north of Seattle.

The FBI was assisting local authorities, but Michael Knutson, assistant special agent in charge of the Seattle FBI, said there was no evidence to point to terrorism.

Stephanie Bose, an assistant general manager at Johnny Carino’s Italian restaurant near the Macy’s store at the mall, said she immediately locked the doors after hearing about the shooting from an employee’s boyfriend.

“He was trying to go to the mall and people were screaming,” she told The Associated Press. “It was frantic.”

She said he could see police at the doors with assault rifles.

It took hours for teams to search the 434,000-square-foot (40,000-square-meter) mall late Friday night. They escorted shoppers and workers who had sheltered in place outside.

“It took several hundred to do that…clearing every room, to make sure the suspect wasn’t still on the scene,” Cammock said.

The parking lot was closed and emergency management officials told people they would be able to retrieve vehicles Saturday, though the mall said it would be closed for the day.

Gov. Jay Inslee said tragedy had struck the state.

“We urge residents to heed all safety and detour warnings. Stay close to your friends and loved ones as we await more information and, hopefully, news of the suspect’s capture,” Inslee said in a statement.

The Cascade Mall is an enclosed shopping mall that opened in 1990. It features J.C. Penney, TJ Maxx, and Macy’s stores, among other stores, restaurants and a movie theater.

On Sept. 17, a man stabbed 10 people at a Minnesota mall before being shot and killed by an off-duty police officer. Authorities say Dahir Ahmed Adan, 20, stabbed the people at the Crossroads Center in St. Cloud, Minnesota.

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        • I agree. I am more interested in his motivation rather than his ethnic back ground. Probably will turn out he was just fired and the women shot were the cause of it. They probably denied him a promotion or worse yet, were promoted instead of him?

        • cholo totally agrees those job-blocking biatches had it coming to them. cholo is sick of everyone trying to block male hispanics from getting into the cosmetics field. if cholo wants to wear makeup and sell makeup then let cholo do it. gunfunnit!

        • Facts, huh? Here’s one: its is legal to carry a concealed weapon in the state of Washington. No permits are even required for open carry so your argument that this tragedy occurred as a result of restrictive gun laws leans heavily on a very weak third leg.

          Or, maybe you think it would be better had the gunman been carrying his weapon legally? For all you know, he was.

        • Don’t you dare argue statistics with me. It’s what I do. Cite your reference or not. doesn’t matter. I know where the discredited reference comes from and you read it third hand on a “brown people are stealing our rights” website. You really need to get a hobby. Orchid culture is very relaxing.

        • TigerEye, if it’s legal to carry guns into Macy’s and malls in Washington, then you might have an exception. I guess this one falls into the 8% while the remainder of the 92% still will occur in gun free zones or in areas where guns will not be easily drawn to take down the shooter. Although makes you wonder why the shooter specifically chose to go after women at the cosmetic section, maybe there is a less likelihood females carry guns on them into that department?

        • cellodad, if you specialize in statistics then you know exactly where to find the numbers. As usual, I guess you’re too lazy to Google the facts and post them. I didn’t pull that 92% out of my a$$, it’s a number “Crime Prevention Research Center (CPRC)” came up with. While there is some debate about the actual percentage, it’s still immensely high even if the true number might fall in the 70% range.

          Why don’t you post your sources disproving this statistic. Also, put yourself into a shooters perspective, would you find it easier to gun down a bunch of cops at a police station armed with guns or bunch of kids at a school? I think you know the answer but you’re in denial claiming otherwise. I think I’ll stick to the much higher probability that the next mass shooting will take once once again at a location where law abiding citizens aren’t allowed to defend themselves!

      • What knife-wielding murderer? He’d kind of had to have killed someone to be a murderer. As it is his rampage was carried out with a kitchen knife with which he managed to injure 10 people. Some would be glad that he wasn’t better armed but I guess not you.

        I’m sure you and Dahir Ahmed Adan would complain together about gun grabbers.

  • Not terrorism? What a joke. Of course this was terrorism. Probably just local terrorism, but terrorism nevertheless. Wonder if this is a vet suffering from PTS or a religious nut who thought the women had just had abortions? List of possibilities is endless but the point is most terrorism in this country is local terrorism which is made possible by the easy availability of guns and has nothing to do with the middle east or Islam.

    • Okay Boots let’s blame vets or maybe a Christian who doesn’t agree with your pro death beliefs. So sad how some people think and blame things on anyone who doesn’t share their intolerant leftist world view.

      • Just ignore comrade Boots. He can’t help himself. He’s just a cookie-cutter leftist/moral relativist who attempts to change the conversation and shift the blame to conservatives, white Christians or veterans the minute there is a terrorist attack, many of which are Islamic in nature. Remember comrade Mike Bloomberg reflexively blaming an Obamacare opponent for the Times Square bombing or comrade Brian Ross trying to link a Tea Party member to the Gabby Giffords shooting.

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