BURLINGTON, Wash. – The 20-year-old man charged with fatally shooting five people at a Burlington shopping mall was found dead in his jail cell, authorities said Monday.
Arcan Cetin hanged himself before 9 p.m. Sunday in the Snohomish County Jail, according to Rosemary Kaholokula, chief criminal deputy prosecutor at the Skagit County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office.
Police said Cetin entered the Cascade Mall in Burlington on Sept. 23, 2016 and headed for the Macy’s Women’s store. Surveillance video showed Cetin shooting a teenage girl near some clothing racks and then shooting an adult man. He next went to the cosmetics section where he shot three women.
Police captured Cetin about 30 hours later near his Oak Harbor, Washington, apartment.
The shooting left a teenage girl, three women and one man dead. They were: Probation officer Belinda Galde and her 96-year-old mother, Beatrice Dotson; Sarai Lara, a sophomore at Mount Vernon High School; Chuck Eagan, who died protecting his wife from the gunfire; and Shayla Martin, who had been a makeup artist at Macy's for decades.
Cetin was charged with five counts of aggravated murder and was slated for a competency hearing next week.
Burlington Mayor Steve Sexton said he wishes Cetin had taken his own life before killing five innocent people. He told Q13 News he hopes the alleged killer’s death provides some relief to grieving families.
“I would hope it would bring some closure to them. And just spare them from looking at the videos again that were released, reliving the whole experience through the trial,” said Sexton.
The family of victim Chuck Eagan on Monday released a statement saying, in part, “While this event puts to rest our fear of his release, we harbor no ill will towards Mr. Cetin or his family and pray for their comfort as we know all too well the pain of grief.”
Q13 News also spoke with Belinda Galde’s husband, who is also Beatrice Dotson’s son-in-law. Mike Galde says he’s still processing everything and called Cetin a "coward" for taking his own life. He says what hurts most is missing his beautiful wife of 43 years.
Deputy Prosecutor Kaholokula spent months working on the case.
“There’s also a sense of sincere disappointment," she said. "We would’ve liked to have been able to carry this case through the end. Present our evidence and have legal justice at the end of it."
Thirteen inmates have died at the Snohomish County Jail between 2010 and 2014.
It was not immediately clear why Cetin had been transferred to the Snohomish County Jail from neighboring Skagit County.