Suspect in Cascade Mall mass shooting may have frequented gun stores before crime

BURLINGTON, Wash. — Arcan Cetin, the suspect in the deadly Cascade Mall shooting, is believed to have frequented gun stores in Island County even though his criminal history barred him from buying any weapons.

“I recognized he’s been in the shop within the last six months to a year; thank goodness he didn’t buy anything from us” Whidbey Arms owner James Childres said.

Cetin, who has a criminal record dating back at least two years and was charged last year with assaulting his stepfather, was under a court order not to possess firearms.

Childres said Cetin wasn’t acting strange at the time and did not attempt to buy any guns at his store.

But it’s a tip Q13 News passed along to the Washington State Patrol on Thursday, adding to the more than 300 tips they have received so far.

“We are trying to find out anything more about the suspect,” Trooper Mark Francis said.

WSP says they also got a tip from another gun store that says the suspect came looking for a .45 caliber weapons nearly two hours before the shooting in the Macy’s store in Burlington's Cascade Mall last Friday.

The State Patrol says they are looking at surveillance video provided by the store that wanted to remain unnamed.

According to our news partners at The Seattle Times, the 20-year-old was acting strange and the owner turned him away.

Authorities say Cetin used a .22-caliber Ruger rifle when he opened fire last Friday at the Cascade Mall, killing five. Cetin's stepfather told detectives after the shootings that his Ruger rifle and .22-caliber ammunition were missing.

After visiting the gun store Friday, witnesses say,  Cetin was seen at the mall 20 minutes before the shooting.

A Mount Vernon woman says she came face to face with the 20-year-old at Cineplex Odeon Cinemas. She says the suspect appeared jittery and said he was looking for his cell phone. At the time the woman thought the suspect was trying to sneak in to watch a movie. The woman also told detectives Cetin may have been also been with another man at the time.

“Although our focus is not on an additional suspect, the investigation is still ongoing so that may change,” Francis said.

So many questions as the community continues to mourn with fresh flowers left behind in memory of the five victims who were killed.

The victims included 95-year-old Beatrice Dotson and her daughter, Belinda Galde, who worked as a probation officer in Snohomish County; Boeing employee Chuck Eagan and Mount Vernon high school sophomore Sarai Lara, who survived cancer. The fifth victim is a longtime Macy’s employee Shayla Martin, who worked at the Estee Lauder makeup counter in Macy's.

“The one elderly lady made it to 95 and to be murdered, and that cancer survivor, I mean somebody protecting his wife,” Skagit County resident Laura Koeth said of the victims.

Family members in the past have told Q13 News that Chuck Eagan died protecting his wife, Pam. When the shooting happened, the couple made a run for it but Pam tripped and fell. Chuck came back for his wife, getting shot in the process.

His wife said the incident was too traumatic to talk about but wanted to say that her husband was her "hero."