TIME Crime

Accused Washington Mall Shooter Confessed to Detectives, Authorities Say

He told detectives "he did bring the rifle into Macy's and shot all 5 victims"

(MOUNT VERNON, Wash.) — The man accused of killing five people at Macy’s store in a Washington state shopping mall before leading authorities on a nearly 24-hour manhunt was charged Monday with five counts of first-degree murder.

Arcan Cetin, 20, made a brief appearance in Skagit County District Court and his bail was set at $2 million.

Court documents released before the hearing said Cetin confessed to the slayings after his arrest, telling detectives who interviewed him that “he did bring the rifle into Macy’s and shot all 5 victims.”

Cetin was arrested Saturday, a day after the gunman opened fire in the department store’s cosmetics department Friday night, killing a man, a teenage girl and three women.

His stepfather said after Monday’s court appearance that Cetin had unspecified mental health problems.

“The only thing that we want to say at this time is that we both are totally devastated by what happened,” said David Marshall, who attended the hearing with Cetin’s mother.

Cetin’s lawyer, Keith Tyne, did not speak with reporters.

Cetin was described by one 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.

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.

Authorities have not released information about a possible motive.

On Sunday, they searched Cetin’s apartment 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 (http://bit.ly/2cWhxJY) 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.”

Police said that they interviewed the suspect’s former girlfriend, who has worked a different Macy’s. No other details were released, including her name.

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.

Oak Harbor is a city of 22,000 on Whidbey Island with many military families associated with the nearby Naval Air Station Whidbey Island.

___

Associated Press writers Lisa Baumann in Seattle, Phuong Le in Burlington, Washington, Gillian Flaccus in Portland, Oregon, Kimberlee Kruesi and Keith Ridler in Boise, Idaho, contributed to this report.

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