comscore Mall shooting suspect: ‘Creepy,’ multiple arrests, disputes | Honolulu Star-Advertiser
Top News

Mall shooting suspect: ‘Creepy,’ multiple arrests, disputes

  • ASSOCIATED PRESS

    This late Saturday, Sept. 24, 2016, image from video by KIRO7 photographer Jeff Ritter shows suspected Cascade Mall shooter Arcan Cetin at Skagit County Jail in Mount Vernon, Wash., after his arrest in Oak Harbor, Wash., earlier in the evening. Investigators on Sunday tried to piece together information on the 20-year-old suspect in the deadly Washington state mall shootings who was apprehended after a nearly 24-hour manhunt.

OAK HARBOR, Wash. >> The 20-year-old man suspected of killing five people with a rifle at a Macy’s makeup counter had had a string of run-ins with the law in recent years, including charges he assaulted his stepfather, and was described by a neighbor as so “creepy, rude and obnoxious” that she kept a Taser by her front door.

As investigators tried to piece together information on Arcan Cetin, who was arrested Saturday evening after a nearly 24-hour manhunt, a picture emerged of a troubled young man. Court records show more than a half-dozen criminal cases in Island County alone since 2013.

Authorities said the gunman in the attack at the Cascade Mall in Burlington opened fire in the department store’s cosmetics department Friday night, killing a man and four females ranging from a teenager to a senior citizen. The killer then fled.

Cetin said nothing and appeared “zombie-like” when he was taken into custody on a sidewalk outside his apartment complex some 30 miles away in Oak Harbor by a sheriff’s officer who recognized him as the suspect in the rampage, authorities said.

Cetin immigrated to the U.S. from Turkey and is a legal permanent resident, officials said.

As the surrounding area absorbed news of the arrest, critical questions remained, including the gunman’s motive. The FBI said early Saturday that there was no indication the shooting was terrorism, but local authorities said later in the day that they were ruling nothing out.

On Sept. 17, a 20-year-old man stabbed 10 people at a Minnesota mall before being shot to death by an off-duty police officer. Authorities said they are investigating the attack by Dahir Ahmed Adan as a possible act of terrorism.

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.

Amber Cathey, 21, lived in an apartment next to Cetin for the past three months and said she was so frightened by him that she complained to apartment management and kept a stun gun handy. Cathey said she blocked him on Snapchat after he sent her a photo of his crotch.

“He was really creepy, rude and obnoxious,” Cathey said. 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.

The Seattle Times reported that court records show Cetin faced three charges of assaulting his stepfather. The newspaper said Cetin also was arrested on drunken driving charges. It gave no details on when the arrests took place or how the cases may have been resolved.

In the assault case, Cetin was told by a judge last December that he was not to possess a gun, the newspaper reported. However, the stepfather urged the judge not to impose a no-contact order, saying his stepson was “going through a hard time.”

Attempts to reach Cetin’s family for comment by phone and social media weren’t immediately successful. A man who came to the door Sunday morning at an Oak Harbor address believed to be where Cetin’s stepfather and mother live asked an Associated Press reporter to leave the property.

Social media accounts apparently belonging to Cetin showed he had a fondness for the military and video games.

A Twitter account showed, among other things, selfies, photos of him in younger years and pictures of Turkish food. He once participated in paintball and said he “can’t wait for Halo 5,” the first-person shooter video game. He also tweeted: “Shout out to the ROTC peeps.” A Facebook account showed he liked military-related sites.

Oak Harbor is a city of 22,000 on Whidbey Island with many military families associated with the nearby Naval Air Station Whidbey Island.

Sheriff’s Lt. Mike Hawley said he spotted Cetin from a patrol car and immediately recognized him as the suspect in the shooting rampage.

“I literally hit my brakes, did a quick turn, I jumped out,” Hawley said. “We both jumped out with our guns, and he just froze.”

Cetin was unarmed and was carrying a satchel with a computer in it. “He was kind of zombie-like,” Hawley said.

No immediate charges were brought against Cetin, who awaited a court appearance Monday.

The names of the dead were not immediately released by police. But The Seattle Times identified one as 16-year-old Sarai Lara. Her mother said she survived cancer as a young girl and was a happy student.

Authorities in suburban Seattle identified another victim as Belinda Galde, 64, a probation officer with the Snohomish County District Court.

Comments (10)

By participating in online discussions you acknowledge that you have agreed to the Terms of Service. An insightful discussion of ideas and viewpoints is encouraged, but comments must be civil and in good taste, with no personal attacks. If your comments are inappropriate, you may be banned from posting. Report comments if you believe they do not follow our guidelines.

Having trouble with comments? Learn more here.

Leave a Reply

    • Let’s recap: Lower Manhattan, Alexandria, Shanksville, Little Rock, Detroit, Fort Hood, Times Square, Boston, Chattanooga, San Bernadino, Orlando, St. Cloud, now Oak Harbor – – another Muslim immigrant evil doer surfaces as the tempo of homeland terror spikes.

      The great mistake President Bush made after 9/11 was not his decision to invade Iraq, but his immediate all encompassing knee jerk defense of Muslims, casting them not as terrorist evil doers, but as victims of discrimination. From then on it was racist to observe that Muslims in New Jersey were dancing on rooftops as the twin towers fell or that every mass attack on our homeland since then was authored by Muslim terrorists.

      Since 9/11, we have legally admitted some two million Muslim immigrants – – with little or no ability to check their background – – on the ruinous theory “they can’t all be terrorists”. That enough ARE terrorists is the incontestable truth we would rather not face.

      9/11 is an intelligence test we flunked for the last 15 years. How much more American blood will have to flow in our own neighborhoods before we acknowledge the need to stop this Muslim terrorist invasion we have welcomed with open arms?

      November 8 beckons.

    • He immigrated as a young child when his parents came here. He came here at a time when Turkey was still committed to being a secular state with no established state religion

      If he was “indoctrinated” into anything, it was the fantasy world of Halo 5, which seems to have morphed and melded with the US Military in his troubled mind. Something snapped and he decided to go all My Lai on mall shoppers.

      Quite unlike Charles Whitman, Timothy McVeigh and Ted Kaczynski … all of whom plotted with malice aforethought to commit their acts of terror.

  • Zombie like when arrested! The Liberal Media trying to make it more than what it really is in that the guy just gave up. He’s really displaying that whoever he wanted to shoot deserved it and he’s willing to pay the price. Sensationalism to capture potential readers eye for gawd’s sake

Click here to see our full coverage of the coronavirus outbreak. Submit your coronavirus news tip.

Be the first to know
Get web push notifications from Star-Advertiser when the next breaking story happens — it's FREE! You just need a supported web browser.
Subscribe for this feature

Scroll Up