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Court documents: Accused mall shooter had history of violence

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MOUNT VERNON, Wash. - Arcan Cetin has admitted that he took a rifle to the Cascade Mall on Friday night and shot and killed five people, court documents say.

The documents also explain that Cetin, now 20, was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder at 18 due to a rough upbringing in Turkey. He moved to the United States when he was 6 due to his mother's abusive family.

Cetin attempted suicide last November and was hospitalized for two weeks, the documents say. His criminal record goes back several years, with charges including assault, driving under the influence and malicious mischief. He blamed marijuana for his past criminal issues, saying he had smoked pot prior to each arrest.

Authorities have not determined a motive for the shooting. Cetin faces five charges of premeditated first-degree murder and is being held on $2 million bail.

Court documents say Cetin entered the mall through Chuck E Cheese, then went to Macy’s.

He left the mall, grabbed a rifle out of the trunk of his car and returned, court documents say.

In only one minute, the mall shooter gunned down and killed five people at the Macy’s. First, he saw 16-year-old Sarai Lara by a clothing rack and killed her, court documents say. Then came Chuck Eagan, 61. Family said he was shot to death trying to protect his wife.

And finally, the shooter trained his weapon on three adult women at the cosmetics counter. Among the victims was Belinda Galde, a longtime probation officer in Skagit County.

Another victim was Shayla' Martin, her family confirms. She had worked at the Estee Lauder counter at Macy's for 25 years.

Authorities say Cetin’s ex-girlfriend worked at Macy’s, but not the one at the Cascade Mall.

The rifle he used was a Ruger .22-caliber. It had a 25-round clip.

Court documents say the rifle belonged to Cetin's stepfather and that it was missing along with ammunition.

At a court hearing late Monday morning, a stone-faced Cetin answered "Yes, your honor" to a series of questions and heard that he faces life in prison if convicted. The tiny courtroom was packed.

Both Cetin's family and families of the victims were there.

"We're both totally devastated by what's happened," a tearful Cetin's stepfather said as he walked out of the courthouse with Cetin's mother. "We are torn up, we are hurt, and that's I'll I can say. Arcan has had some mental health issues that we have been trying to work on with him. That's all I can say."

'Creepy, rude and obnoxious'

Cetin was described by a neighbor as so "creepy, rude and obnoxious" that she kept a Taser by her front door. He also had a string of run-ins with the law in recent years, including charges he assaulted his stepfather.

As investigators tried to piece together information on Cetin, a picture emerged of a troubled young man. Court records show more than a half-dozen criminal cases in Island County alone since 2013.

Authorities said the gunman in the attack at the Cascade Mall opened fire in the department store's cosmetics department Friday night, killing a man and four females ranging from a teenager to a senior citizen. The killer then fled.

Cetin said nothing and appeared "zombie-like" when he was taken into custody on a sidewalk outside his apartment complex some 30 miles away in Oak Harbor by a sheriff's officer who recognized him as the suspect in the rampage, authorities said.

Cetin immigrated to the U.S. from Turkey and is a legal permanent resident, officials said. He is expected to make an initial court appearance Monday.

As the surrounding area absorbed news of the arrest, critical questions remained, including the gunman's motive. The FBI said early Saturday that there was no indication the shooting was terrorism, but local authorities said later in the day that they were ruling nothing out.

On Sept. 17, a 20-year-old man stabbed 10 people at a Minnesota mall before being shot to death by an off-duty police officer. Authorities said they are investigating the attack by Dahir Ahmed Adan as a possible act of terrorism.

On Monday, nine people were wounded when a man opened fire near a Houston strip mall. Police said the gunman, who was shot and killed by police, was a lawyer who was having problems with his law firm.

In Washington state, investigators searched Cetin's vehicle and the apartment complex Sunday and were seen carrying boxes from a rear, upstairs unit. The four-unit building was surrounded with yellow police tape. Detectives would not say what they found.

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

"He was really creepy, rude and obnoxious," Cathey said. She said she would try to avoid him by walking the long way around to her apartment if she saw his car in the parking lot. The two were in high school together as well, and Cathey said he acted the same way then.

The Seattle Times reported that court records show Cetin faced three charges of assaulting his stepfather. The newspaper said Cetin also was arrested on drunken driving charges. It gave no details on when the arrests took place or how the cases may have been resolved.

In the assault case, Cetin was told by a judge last December that he was not to possess a gun, the newspaper reported. However, the stepfather urged the judge not to impose a no-contact order, saying his stepson was "going through a hard time."


Attempts to reach Cetin's family for comment by phone and social media weren't immediately successful. It wasn't clear if Cetin had a lawyer yet. A man who came to the door Sunday morning at an Oak Harbor address believed to be where Cetin's stepfather and mother live asked an Associated Press reporter to leave the property.

Social media accounts apparently belonging to Cetin showed he had a fondness for the military and video games.

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.

Cetin also appeared to have blogs on the site Tumblr that had not been updated in many months. They included seemingly random posts about serial killer Ted Bundy, a collection of selfies, the top-secret Area 51 Cold War test site and photos of Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei and Islamic State group leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. The two blogs linked back to each other and one of them linked to what appeared to be his Twitter page.


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