Officials are still searching for a gunman who opened fire in a shopping mall Friday evening (Sept. 23), killing five people.
The shooting happened around 7 p.m. in Burlington, Wash. 10 minutes after the suspect entered Cascade Mall. The gunman shot four women and a man who were near a makeup counter at the Macy’s department store. Witnesses were evacuated by police shortly after the shooting as they searched for the suspect. Lt. Chris Cammock told reporters they later realized the suspect had left the building, leaving behind a rifle. The suspect, who is still on the run, is described as a young man, possibly in his early 20’s.
Community members and Mayor Steve Sexton were left stunned by the shooting. Burlington has a population of 9,000 with little crime reported in the area. “There are people waking up this morning, and their world has changed forever,” said Mayor Sexton. He later added justice would prevail over “the son of a b***h who did this to our community.”
Skagit County Coroner Hayley Thompson said the bodies of the female victims remained at the mall Saturday morning (Sept. 24) during the investigation. The male victim, presumably in his 60’s, died today after being taken to the Harborview Medical Center in Seattle.
At the time of the shooting, Pastor Nick Harris welcomed evacuees to His Place Community Church, where they talked to cops and reunited with loved ones. “The people coming in here are just shaken and scared to death,” Harris said. “The guy is still on the loose and they don’t know where he’s at. It’s pretty chaotic right now.”
Seattle’s FBI office is currently assisting in the shooting. So far, a motive hasn’t been revealed.