Arcan Cetin is escorted into Skagit County District Court by Skagit County’s Sheriff’s Deputies on Monday. Cetin is being held under a magistrate’s warrant which will give Skagit County prosecutors 30 days to file charges in relation to the Cascade Mall shooting that took place on Friday evening. Five people were killed in the shooting, and Cetin is being held on a $2 million bail. (Brandy Shreve/Skagit Valley Herald via AP)

Arcan Cetin is escorted into Skagit County District Court by Skagit County’s Sheriff’s Deputies on Monday. Cetin is being held under a magistrate’s warrant which will give Skagit County prosecutors 30 days to file charges in relation to the Cascade Mall shooting that took place on Friday evening. Five people were killed in the shooting, and Cetin is being held on a $2 million bail. (Brandy Shreve/Skagit Valley Herald via AP)

Burlington mall shooting suspect charged with murder; $2M bail

  • By Wire Service
  • Tuesday, September 27, 2016 8:40am
  • Local News

Related: Among mall shooting victims, strong Snohomish County ties

Associated Press and Herald staff

MOUNT VERNON — The suspect accused of killing five people at a Macy’s department store confessed to police, court documents said, but his motive remained a mystery Monday as a portrait emerged of him as a mentally troubled young man whose parents said they were trying to help him.

Arcan Cetin, 20, appeared in court following his arrest over the weekend on five counts of first-degree premeditated murder for the shooting at the Cascade Mall in Burlington, north of Seattle.

Cetin appeared to express no emotion and said only “Yes, your honor” when asked by a judge if he understood his rights. Bail was set at $2 million and his lawyer said nothing about his client in court and did not speak with reporters.

The hearing followed a terrifying weekend that began Friday night when police say Cetin stormed into the mall and killed five people, leaving Burlington residents panicked for nearly 24 hours until authorities arrested him.

Cetin, described by acquaintances as socially awkward, has a criminal record going back at least two years, and one of his neighbors said he unnerved her so much that she kept a stun gun near her front door.

Cetin after his arrest admitted to detectives he was the man captured on security video carrying a Ruger rifle inside the mall, “and he did bring the rifle into Macy’s and shot all five victims,” court documents released ahead of Monday’s hearing said.

He shot all five victims in one minute and left the rifle with a 25-round magazine on a cosmetics counter before fleeing, the documents said. Four died at the scene and one died in the hospital.

The victims ranged in age from a teenage girl to a woman in her 90s.

Authorities have declined to reveal details about their investigation into the motive for the shooting, but Cetin’s stepfather, David Marshall, told reporters after the hearing that his stepson “has mental health issues” without elaborating.

“The only thing that we want to say at this time is that we both are totally devastated by what happened,” said Marshall, who attended the hearing with Cetin’s mother.

The court documents appeared to paint a picture of Cetin’s stepfather and mother trying to keep their son on track despite his suffering from an unspecified illness and criminal charges he faced for allegedly assaulting Marshall. Cetin came to the U.S. from Turkey and is a permanent legal resident, authorities have said.

Cetin appears to have been under regular court supervision since shortly after he turned 18. He faced multiple charges in Island District Court for misdemeanor assaults, records show.

The first case was brought in October 2014. At the time, Cetin was still in school, the judge was told. His father called the court at one point asking that a no-contact order be lifted because there were challenges finding a place for the young man to stay.

As part of the 2014 case, the court was told that Cetin’s mother had removed firearms from the home. In February 2015, Cetin was given a two-year ban on possessing firearms. He also was ordered to have no criminal violations and to cooperate with evaluations regarding his mental health.

Other assault arrests came in May and June of that year.

From the dockets, its appears cases were addressed with deferred prosecutions. A key focus appears to have been getting Cetin help for mental health concerns and potential problems with substance abuse.

In May 2016, the court was told that Cetin was attending college and working 20 hours a week as a dishwasher. He was ordered to continue to cooperate with mental health counselling, to use no alcohol or drugs and to have no criminal violations.

The last docket entry was Aug. 25, less than a month before the gunfire at at the mall. The court was updated on Cetin’s progress in counselling.

“Def. remains in compliance with weekly sessions,” the docket reads. “Additional evaluations pending with other medical professionals.”

He eventually moved out of his parents’ home and the stepfather told detectives after the shooting that he and his wife had helped Cetin with his rent.

Cetin said his father bought him a laptop, according to the court documents released Monday. His mother visited him regularly at his new apartment and last saw him Wednesday, the documents said.

Despite their falling out, Cetin ate with his stepfather on the day of the shooting before leaving around 4:30 p.m. to go to work, according to the documents.

Less than three hours later, police said in court documents, surveillance video showed Cetin enter the mall through a fast food restaurant, walk through the shopping center and leave through the Macy’s women’s department exit.

He then moved his car closer to the Macy’s entrance and took a rifle out of the car’s trunk, the documents said.

Within moments, surveillance cameras in Macy’s captured the shooter entering through the same women’s department — this time with a rifle.

Cetin first shot and killed a teenage girl near some clothing racks and then walked to the cosmetics counter where he shot a man and three women, the documents said.

Cetin was arrested late Saturday in Oak Harbor, about 30 miles from the mall, by a sheriff’s deputy who recognized him. Cetin’s stepfather told detectives that his Ruger rifle and .22-caliber ammunition were missing, documents said.

Police interviewed the suspect’s former girlfriend and said Sunday night she “has an employment history at Macy’s, but not at the Burlington Mall location.” They did not identify her.

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

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.

Talk to us

> Give us your news tips.

> Send us a letter to the editor.

> More Herald contact information.

More in Local News

Traffic idles while waiting for the lights to change along 33rd Avenue West on Tuesday, April 2, 2024 in Lynnwood, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Lynnwood seeks solutions to Costco traffic boondoggle

Let’s take a look at the troublesome intersection of 33rd Avenue W and 30th Place W, as Lynnwood weighs options for better traffic flow.

A memorial with small gifts surrounded a utility pole with a photograph of Ariel Garcia at the corner of Alpine Drive and Vesper Drive ion Wednesday, April 10, 2024 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Death of Everett boy, 4, spurs questions over lack of Amber Alert

Local police and court authorities were reluctant to address some key questions, when asked by a Daily Herald reporter this week.

The new Amazon fulfillment center under construction along 172nd Street NE in Arlington, just south of Arlington Municipal Airport. (Chuck Taylor / The Herald) 20210708
Frito-Lay leases massive building at Marysville business park

The company will move next door to Tesla and occupy a 300,0000-square-foot building at the Marysville business park.

Authorities found King County woman Jane Tang who was missing since March 2 near Heather Lake. (Family photo)
Body of missing woman recovered near Heather Lake

Jane Tang, 61, told family she was going to a state park last month. Search teams found her body weeks later.

Deborah Wade (photo provided by Everett Public Schools)
Everett teacher died after driving off Tulalip road

Deborah Wade “saw the world and found beauty in people,” according to her obituary. She was 56.

Snohomish City Hall on Friday, April 12, 2024 in Snohomish, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Snohomish may sell off old City Hall, water treatment plant, more

That’s because, as soon as 2027, Snohomish City Hall and the police and public works departments could move to a brand-new campus.

Lewis the cat weaves his way through a row of participants during Kitten Yoga at the Everett Animal Shelter on Saturday, April 13, 2024, in Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Downward cat? At kitten yoga in Everett, it’s all paw-sitive vibes

It wasn’t a stretch for furry felines to distract participants. Some cats left with new families — including a reporter.

FILE - In this Friday, March 31, 2017, file photo, Boeing employees walk the new Boeing 787-10 Dreamliner down towards the delivery ramp area at the company's facility in South Carolina after conducting its first test flight at Charleston International Airport in North Charleston, S.C. Federal safety officials aren't ready to give back authority for approving new planes to Boeing when it comes to the large 787 jet, which Boeing calls the Dreamliner, Tuesday, Feb. 15, 2022. The plane has been plagued by production flaws for more than a year.(AP Photo/Mic Smith, File)
Boeing pushes back on Everett whistleblower’s allegations

Two Boeing engineering executives on Monday described in detail how panels are fitted together, particularly on the 787 Dreamliner.

Ferry workers wait for cars to start loading onto the M/V Kitsap on Friday, Dec. 1, 2023 in Mukilteo, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Struggling state ferry system finds its way into WA governor’s race

Bob Ferguson backs new diesel ferries if it means getting boats sooner. Dave Reichert said he took the idea from Republicans.

Traffic camera footage shows a crash on northbound I-5 near Arlington that closed all lanes of the highway Monday afternoon. (Washington State Department of Transportation)
Woman dies almost 2 weeks after wrong-way I-5 crash near Arlington

On April 1, Jason Lee was driving south on northbound I-5 near the Stillaguamish River bridge when he crashed into a car. Sharon Heeringa later died.

Owner Fatou Dibba prepares food at the African Heritage Restaurant on Saturday, April 6, 2024 in Everett, Washington. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
Oxtail stew and fufu: Heritage African Restaurant in Everett dishes it up

“Most of the people who walk in through the door don’t know our food,” said Fatou Dibba, co-owner of the new restaurant at Hewitt and Broadway.

A pig and her piglets munch on some leftover food from the Darrington School District’s cafeteria at the Guerzan homestead on Friday, March 15, 2024, in Darrington, Washington. Eileen Guerzan, a special education teacher with the district, frequently brings home food scraps from the cafeteria to feed to her pigs, chickens and goats. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
‘A slopportunity’: Darrington school calls in pigs to reduce food waste

Washingtonians waste over 1 million tons of food every year. Darrington found a win-win way to divert scraps from landfills.

Support local journalism

If you value local news, make a gift now to support the trusted journalism you get in The Daily Herald. Donations processed in this system are not tax deductible.