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Cascade Mall Shooting Suspect Appears In Court As Burlington Mourns

Will James
Burlington resident Kathy Baker kneels before a makeshift memorial near the site of Friday's mass shooting at the Cascade Mall.

Bouquets, balloons, and hand-drawn posters piled up Monday at the grassy entryway of the Cascade Mall, the small-town shopping center that is the site of America's latest mass killing.

Residents of Burlington drifted by the makeshift memorial to pay respects to the five people fatally shot Friday - or simply to take stock of what had happened to their community of 8,000 people about an hour's drive north of Seattle.

"These people should still be going in and out of this mall and up and down these streets," said Kathy Baker, a Burlington resident who left white daisies at the site. "They should all still be alive. It took one person to change that."

A candlelight vigil drew hundreds of people to the mall Monday evening.

Hours earlier, the 20-year-old man accused of rampaging through the mall's Macy's store with a .22-caliber hunting-style rifle appeared in court for the first time.

Arcan Cetin, who police said lives about 30 miles away in Oak Harbor and works at a gym, was charged with five counts of first-degree murder.

Cetin wore a blue button-down shirt and answered, "Yes, your honor," when a Skagit County judge asked him if he understood his rights and the charges. Bail was set at $2 million. 

Police said Cetin confessed to the killings shortly after his arrest Saturday. After a 24-hour manhunt, officers found him in his car about a block away from his apartment and arrested him without incident.

Skagit County Prosecuting Attorney Richard Weyrich said he did not know what motivated the attack. Cetin's stepfather David Marshall said outside the courthouse that Cetin "has had mental health issues that we have been trying to work on with him." 

Cetin's stepfather told police he was missing his Ruger 10/22 semi-automatic rife, the same model of gun used in the shooting. Police said the weapon had a 25-round magazine.

Police said the shooting spree took about a minute. They said Cetin shot a young woman in the women's section and then moved to the cosmetics area where he shot three more women and a man. The victims include a teenage girl and a woman in her 90s. 

Cetin placed the rifle on the cosmetics counter before leaving the store and driving off, police said. 

Friday's attack was Washington state's seventh mass shooting in 2016, according to the non-profit Gun Violence Archive, which defines a mass shooting as one in which four or more people are wounded or killed.

Skagit County was the site of a prior mass shooting eight years ago, when a man killed six people between Alger and Mount Vernon.

Donald Snodgrass, a Burlington resident, said he was at the Cascade Mall on Friday trying to decide between a movie and a meal when people started fleeing. He said he often uses the two mall entrances that police said the shooter passed through that evening, but he happened to choose a different door that night. 

Snodgrass said he returned to the mall to try to regain a sense of normalcy Monday.

"I just wanted to get some of my nerves back," he said, standing in front of the makeshift memorial. "I'm a little shaky." 

Will James is a former KNKX reporter and was part of the special projects team, reporting and producing podcasts such as Outsiders and The Walk Home.