Search for Washington mall shooter who killed five people at Macy's

Police are looking for a Hispanic man wearing black and armed with a "hunting-type" rifle and last seen walking toward Interstate 5 after a shooting at the Cascade Mall north of Seattle. 

(Dean Rutz/The Seattle Times via AP)
Law enforcement officers work at the crime scene outside of Cascade Mall in Burlington, Wash., where several people were fatally shot on Friday, Sept. 23, 2016.

Police searched Saturday for a gunman authorities said opened fire in the makeup department of a Macy's store at a mall north of Seattle, killing four females and one man, before fleeing toward an interstate on foot.

People fled, customers hid in dressing rooms and employees locked the doors of nearby stores after gunshots rang out just after 7 p.m. Friday at the Cascade Mall. A helicopter, search teams and K-9 units scoured the area for a rifle-carrying man.

"We are still actively looking for the shooter," Washington State Patrol spokesman Sgt. Mark Francis said at a news conference. "Stay indoors, stay secure."

Police said they were looking for a Hispanic man wearing black and armed with a "hunting-type" rifle and last seen walking toward Interstate 5. The description, including that he appeared Hispanic, was based on statements from witnesses, said Given Kutz, a spokesman for the Skagit County Emergency Operations Center.

Authorities say the motive was unknown for the shooting about 60 miles (97 kilometers) north of Seattle.

The FBI was assisting local authorities as dozens of police officers searched for the suspect. The FBI's Seattle office said on Twitter that it "has no information to suggest additional attacks planned" in Washington state but did not elaborate.

The male victim died early Saturday at a Seattle hospital. It was unclear where in the mall he was when he was shot. Authorities had previously announced the deaths of the four females. No other details about the victims were provided, including their ages.

Tari Caswell told the Skagit Valley Herald she was in the Macy's women's dressing room when she heard "what sounded like four balloons popping."

"Then I heard seven or eight more, and I just stayed quiet in the dressing room because it just didn't feel right. And it got very quiet. And then I heard a lady yelling for help, and a man came and got me and another lady, and we ran out of the store," Caswell told the newspaper.

Stephanie Bose, an assistant general manager at Johnny Carino's Italian restaurant near the Macy's store at the mall, said she immediately locked the doors to the restaurant after hearing about the shooting from an employee's boyfriend.

"He was trying to go to the mall and people were screaming," she told The Associated Press. "It was frantic."

She said he could see police at the doors with assault rifles and said they were no longer guarding the doors as of 9:30 p.m.

Francis said at about 8:30 p.m. that the mall had been evacuated and emergency medical personnel were cleared to enter. Francis said authorities were still doing a "final clear" of the 434,000-square-foot (40,319-square-meter) mall late Friday night. He said 11 search teams and two K9 units were involved.

The parking lot was closed and emergency management officials told people they would be able to retrieve vehicles Saturday, though the mall said it would be closed for the day.

Gov. Jay Inslee said tragedy had struck the state.

"We urge residents to heed all safety and detour warnings. Stay close to your friends and loved ones as we await more information and, hopefully, news of the suspect's capture," Inslee said in a statement.

The Cascade Mall is an enclosed shopping mall that opened in 1990, according to the mall's website. It features J.C. Penney, TJ Maxx, and Macy's stores, among other stores, restaurants and a movie theater.

On Sept. 17 a man stabbed 10 people at a Minnesota mall before being shot and killed by an off-duty police officer. Authorities say Dahir Ahmed Adan, 20, stabbed the people at the Crossroads Center in St. Cloud, Minnesota.

___

Baumann reported from Seattle.

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to CSMonitor.com.