The man accused of fatally shooting five people at the Cascade Mall in Burlington last year has been found dead.
Arcan Cetin was found hanging in his cell just before 7 p.m. Sunday.
Rosemary Kaholokula, chief criminal deputy prosecutor for Skagit County, said she believes Cetin committed suicide.
She said the victims’ families have been notified. People are shocked and still processing the news, she said.
"I think that there is a mixture of emotions, from being glad that there's some sort of closure in the case, to being perhaps upset that the case wasn't permitted to go forward to its ultimate resolution."
The family of one of the victims, Chuck Eagan, released the following statement.
“We’re understandably in shock over this development. Our heart goes out to Mr. Cetin’s family. We pray that the man repented to God before his death. While this event puts to rest our fear of his release, we harbor no ill will towards Mr. Cetin or his family and pray for their comfort as we know all too well the pain of grief. The family wishes to extend our continued thanks to those who responded to this tragedy, especially law enforcement and the Skagit County Prosecutor’s office for their steadfast professionalism and compassion. We are also grateful to all of those in the community whose love has helped see us through the past six months as we grieve and remember Chuck. The family requests privacy as we continue to process this turn of events.”
Cetin was facing five counts of aggravated murder. Prosecutors had not decided whether to seek the death penalty.
Kaholokula said there was a hearing scheduled for next week but Cetin's death means they will take the case no further.
Detectives say Cetin, a 20-year-old Oak Harbor resident, confessed to the killing of five people at the Cascade Mall.
Just before 7 p.m. on September 23, 2016, security footage shows a young man enter the Cascade mall with a rifle. He shoots a teenage girl near a clothing rack in Macy’s.
He then shoots a man and proceeds to the Macy’s cosmetics counter where he shoots three more women. The man places the gun on the counter and exits the store.
According to court documents, he was in the store for approximately one minute.
Police said the man in that footage is Cetin and court documents show Cetin confirmed that.
The motive for the attack remains unknown.
Prior to his death, Cetin was undergoing a competency evaluation.
The Skagit County Prosecutor’s office said they will not be providing any further details regarding Cetin’s death pending any investigation being conducted into the circumstances of his death.
The Snohomish County Sheriff's Office Major Crimes Unit is investigating the death.