US mall shooting: Police arraigned suspected gunman that left 5 people dead

Authorities have arrested the suspected Turkish gunman that killed five people, including a teenaged cancer survivor, at a shopping mall in the US state of Washington. 

The 20-year-old, identified as Arcan Cetin, lives in a nearby town of Oa Harbor. He was arrested late Saturday, 24hours after the incident. The FBI office in Seattle said it had no evidence the shooting was terror-related. 

A weapon was recovered at the scene of the violence, Cascade Mall in Burlington, a town of about 8,000 people some 70 miles (110 kilometers) north of Seattle. 

The youngest victim was named as Sarai Lara, 16, who survived cancer as a young girl. Relatives named another victim as 52-year-old Shayla Martin, who worked as a Macy’s makeup artist. "We’re really having a tough time right now," her sister Karen Van Horn told The Seattle Times.

''The shooter had walked in without a weapon, and appeared on security cameras about 10 minutes later with a rifle -- after the shooting later left the store on foot, triggering an intence manhunt. Authorities had initially described the suspect as a Hispanic man in his late teens or early 20s''.

Members of the public called in with numerous tips that helped lead to the arrest, police said, adding that Cetin’s family was cooperating. 

While Cetin was born in Turkey, he is a legal permanent resident of the United States, said Lieutenant Chris Cammock, criminal investigations chief for the Mount Vernon Police Department. He is due in court Monday. 

A Facebook page belonging to Cetin, said he was born in the southern Turkish city of Adana. It also said went to Oak Harbor High School, which is about a 30-mile drive from Burlington, and had worked at a grocery store on nearby Whidbey Island. 

Burlington Mayor Steve Sexton’s voice trembled as he noted that the randomness of gun violence in America -- which causes an estimated 30,000 deaths a year, had hit his small town. 

“We suffered a devastating loss of five treasured members of our community who had done nothing more than what we all would have done on any given day: gone to the shopping mall,” he said. 

“It changed those families forever. And we keep them in our prayers. It changed our community, I’m afraid, forever.” 

The shooting came amid fierce debate in America over gun control laws. It is a hot issue on the campaign trail ahead of the November 8 presidential election. 

“We are united in knowing that the status quo is not good enough when it comes to violence in our community,” said Washington Governor Jay Inslee. “Passivity in the face of this scourge of violence is unacceptable.” 

Local and regional law enforcement from up to 27 agencies responded to the scene, with about 200 officers on site at the height of the incident. 

At a vigil held for the victims Saturday morning in Burlington’s Maiben Park, Kelly Couture, who exited the mall through a Target store as the chaos was unfolding, told The Seattle Times there were “just sirens and people were yelling and running out of the building.” The mall was closed Saturday as a mark of respect for the victims.