Five people were killed – four fatally – Friday night at Cascade Mall in Burlington, and agents were deployed in search of the shooter, according to the Washington State Patrol.
The four dead were all women, State Patrol Sgt. Mark Francis said.
A man in critical condition was taken to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle. It is unclear whether there were other victims.
The suspect was described as a Hispanic male 20 and 30 years with a close shaven hair cut. Used a long gun similar to a hunting rifle, Francis said. The police released a photo with the security footage of him shortly after 9 p.m.
Francis said the alleged shooter was last seen walking west toward Interstate 5 from the mall around 7 p.m. A search of the mall and the surrounding area includes bomb-sniffing dogs and a helicopter. Just before 11 p.m. Francis said two-thirds of the mall had been cleared, but there were closed doors and rooms that had to be opened.
Emergency physicians entered the commercial center of 434,000 square feet, escorted by police, Francis said. Some people were being possibly hidden in the mall.
The number of casualties fluctuated through the night. Law enforcement officials first said four people were fatally shot, then lowered the figure to three before increasing again.
The four people were fatally shot in the Macy store on the west side of the mall, said State Patrol.
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Around 21:20, police swarmed an area directly across I-5 from the mall. The police are telling people, “Get out of here, you are not safe here.”
residents were told to stay inside and call 911 if they see anything suspicious. The Department of Emergency Management Skagit County also urged people to avoid the area of the mall. State transportation officials asks drivers to avoid the highway near Highway 20, as well.
Fuller said his niece Michelle heard the shots inside the mall and led people to a nearby bathroom to hide. When her niece called, “you could hear the panic in his voice.”
A man was airlifted to Harborview Medical Center in critical condition, hospital spokeswoman Susan Gregg said around 21:30 The hospital does not anticipate any additional arrivals.
It is not clear if there were more victims. No further details on the dead were immediately available.
People who were inside the mall were taking his place Community Church near the mall, Francis said.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation is assisting with the police investigation. In a tweet, the agency said it had no information suggesting more attacks were planned.
Heading to Seattle on the highway, Ben Hagood was driving through the area around 19:40 and said he saw dozens of police vehicles, including 15 to 20, near a store in the mall alone.
football game against Lakewood Burlington-Edison in Burlington-Edison High School was postponed, according to news reports.
Governor Jay Inslee made the following statements:
“The tragedy has struck in Washington tonight,” he said in a statement. “Our hearts are in Burlington.”
This marks the seventh mass shooting in Washington with at least four people shot this year, according to gun violence Archive. More recently, three people were killed at a party in Mukilteo in July.
The nonpartisan organization based in Washington, DC, monitor and verify incidents across the country, the definition of “mass executions” as a single shooting incident in which four or more people are killed or injured, without including the shooter.