Yet another community is reeling from a tragic gun attack on a Washington State mall Friday evening. Five people are dead, four women and one man, while the gunman is still at large.
This latest attack happened inside the Macy’s store at the Cascade Mall in Burlington Washington.
According to authorities, the suspect first entered the mall unarmed around 6:40pm Friday evening, presumably to scout the store and plan his attack. He then left the store and returned some ten minutes later, around 6:55pm with a rifle. Upon entering the store, rifle in hand, he proceeded to the cosmetics counter we he opened fire on patrons and employees. The attack lasted only a minute or two, before the suspect sat his gun down on the counter and proceeded to exit the store on foot.
The FBI’s Seattle office has indicated that they have no information to suggest that there are other attacks planned in Washington State. Michael Knutson, Assistant Special Agent in charge of the FBI’s Seattle field office said at a morning press conference that while there “there is no evidence to point to” to an act of terrorism, he “cannot discount” the possibility that this attack may have terrorism related. He indicated that they were still in the preliminary stages of their investigation.
— FBI Seattle (@FBISeattle) September 24, 2016
The Washington State Patrol has released a photo of the suspect and is seeking the community’s assistance in identifying him. He is described as a dark complected, possibly latino, male in his late teens to early twenties. He was last seen wearing a black t-shirt with some sort of print on it, black shorts, white socks and dark brown or black shoes. Anyone with information on the suspect is asked to call the Skagit County Sheriff’s Department at 360-428-3211 or email them at email@example.com.
The identities of the victims are not being released at this time as the coroner has not yet been allowed to enter the crime scene to retrieve the bodies. Those identities will be made public once the autopsies have been completed and next of kin have been notified.
“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,” Governor Jay Inslee said in a statement.
The Skagit County community has already begun to come together to be with those in grief. Central United Method Church in Sedro Woolley will remain open from 12pm-5pm and a prayer vigil will begin there at 5pm this afternoon.
Other members of the community have begun to gather at Maiben park where local businesses including a local McDonalds have provided food and drinks for people wanting to come together to support and love one another.