5 dead in Seattle-area mall shooting; FBI joins search for suspect

BURLINGTON, Wash., Sept. 24 (UPI) — The FBI and Washington police are continuing their search early Saturday for a shooter who opened fire in a shopping mall, killing five people before fleeing the scene on foot.

Four women were confirmed dead on Friday night following the shooting inside a Macy’s at the Cascade Mall in Burlington. The fifth victim, a man, was flown to a local hospital in critical condition and died overnight, according to the Seattle Times.

The names of those who died were not immediately released and it is unclear if there were any other victims. Police said there was only one gunman.

Police Sgt. Mark Francis shared a photo of the man believed to be the shooter, who was described as a 20- to 30-year-old hispanic man with a close-shaved haircut and used a long gun similar to a hunting rifle.

Witnesses told KOMO the armed man came into the mall shortly before 7 p.m. and opened fire after walking into a crowded Macy’s store. The shooter’s motive or relation to the victims is unknown.

The mall was locked down and nearly a dozen search teams and two K-9 units were dispatched to the immediate area to search for the shooter.

He was last seen walking towards Interstate 5 at 7 p.m. The FBI has joined Washington State Patrol in the search.

A group of survivors were transported by bus to a nearby church and told to check back on their cars the next day, as the Skagit County emergency office said the mall was “still an active scene,” according to CNN.

Spokeswoman Ayn Dietrich-William said the FBI has no information suggesting any additional planned attacks in Washington.

Governor Jay Inslee released a statement mourning the tragic loss of the victims and urging citizens to comply with detours and other safety precautions.

“Tragedy has struck in Washington tonight. Our hearts are in Burlington where a shooter has taken the lives of at least four people,” he said. “Trudi and I send our condolences to the families of the victims and prayers for anyone injured. 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.”

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