Wednesday, December 2, 2020
Dec. 2, 2020

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Documents: Mall shooting suspect tried to buy a gun


MOUNT VERNON — Documents released Tuesday by the Skagit County Prosecutor’s Office reveal the man suspected of killing five people in the Macy’s store at the Cascade Mall asked a gun shop employee about how to avoid background checks while attempting to purchase a gun the day of the shooting.

According to the documents, which were released under a public records request, 20-year-old Arcan Cetin entered a gun shop in Oak Harbor about 5:30 p.m., about an hour and a half before the Sept. 23 shooting.

The shop’s owner told detectives that a man, later determined to be Cetin, walked into the store and asked about buying a “.45 (caliber) and stuff,” the documents state.

While the owner stated she did not assist the man, she said she overheard him talking to an employee about “gun shows, asked questions about background checks and about skirting those background checks,” the documents state. The woman told police the man was told the gun shop would not sell him a gun, but “he just didn’t like to hear it,” and that the man “puffed up” and “flexed his muscles.”

The man was in the store for about 20 minutes, the owner told investigators.

Instead, the rifle Cetin allegedly used in the shooting was one he stole from his parents’ home the night before the shooting, the documents state. He also stole ammunition from his parents, he told investigators, but he did not fully load the magazine.

Cetin told investigators he did not know why he did not completely load the weapon, which was left on the cosmetics counter of the Macy’s after the shooting, once it was empty.

The documents also reveal that Cetin told investigators he knew the difference between right and wrong and that “at the time he took the gun from his parents’ house, he didn’t have plans to go shoot or kill somebody.”

However, when asked if he could be labeled a “murderer,” Cetin agreed, according to the documents.

The documents also detail more about his anger and depression.

Violence in the family

In to an interview, Cetin’s mother Hattice Marshall reported being deeply concerned with his anger and anxiety issues, and that he may not have been taking his medications properly.

His mother also reported the anger issues ran in the family, detailing more about the family’s history in their native Turkey, including that violence had become almost normalized.

Cetin had not had much contact with most of his Turkish family, except for a grandmother who recently returned to Turkey after having lived in Oak Harbor, another circumstance that Cetin’s mother said was causing Cetin stress.

David Marshall, Cetin’s stepfather, served in the U.S. Navy, and Cetin had an interest in the military, documents reveal.

Between January and August of 2016, Cetin inquired about enlisting in the Army, Navy and Marine Corps, the documents show.

Based on his arrest record for domestic violence, as well as a judge’s order forbidding him to possess firearms, all three branches informed him he was not qualified for service, the documents show.

The documents also state that, while Cetin apparently purchased a ticket to watch the movie “Snowden” a half hour before the shooting, instead of entering the theater that was showing that movie, he instead entered a neighboring theater three times.

Video footage appears to show Cetin propping open a theater door that leads to the parking lot with his cellphone, which a moviegoer removed and returned to theater personnel.

“I suspect based on this that this theater room and the people inside of it may have been a planned target,” a detective wrote.

The shooting at the nearby Macy’s lasted about one minute and left five people dead.

Cetin was arrested the day after the shooting in Oak Harbor. He is being held in Skagit County Jail on $2 million bail.