Police were searching for a gunman who killed four women and a man at a Washington state mall Friday before fleeing the area.
Washington State Patrol spokesman Sgt. Mark Francis said police were searching for a Hispanic man wearing black and armed with a rifle who was last seen walking toward Interstate 5 near the Cascade Mall in Burlington.
“Stay indoors, stay secure,” Francis said at a news conference.
The male victim was airlifted to a Seattle hospital with critical injuries. Washington State Patrol Trooper Heather Axtman told “Fox & Friends” Saturday morning that the man had died.
Authorities initially said four people were killed, then said three were dead, before revising the number again late Friday. Francis said the number fluctuated as authorities searched the 434,000-square-foot mall. The sergeant said the victims were shot in the makeup department of the mall’s Macy’s store at approximately 7 p.m. local time.
Authorities released a surveillance image of the suspect walking through the store and holding a rifle. Francis said police did not know the gunman’s motive and could not say whether he targeted the victims. He said the ages of the victims appeared to range from their 20s to elderly, but had no further identifying information.
Washington Gov. Jay Inslee said in a statement that many questions remain but state patrol and local law enforcement are on the scene working swiftly to locate the shooter and clear the area.
“Trudi and I send our condolences to the families of the victims and prayers for anyone injured,” Inslee said. “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.”
The FBI’s Seattle office announced that it was assisting local investigators with intelligence reviews and manpower. The bureau said on Twitter that it “has no information to suggest additional attacks planned” in Washington state but did not elaborate.
Tari Caswell told the Skagit Valley Herald she was in the Macy’s women’s dressing room when she heard “what sounded like four balloons popping.”
“Then I heard seven or eight more, and I just stayed quiet in the dressing room because it just didn’t feel right. And it got very quiet. And then I heard a lady yelling for help, and a man came and got me and another lady, and we ran out of the store,” Caswell told the newspaper.
Stephanie Bose, an assistant general manager at Johnny Carino’s Italian restaurant near Macy’s, told the Associated Press she immediately locked the doors to the restaurant after hearing about the shooting from an employee’s boyfriend.
“He was trying to go to the mall and people were screaming,” she said. “It was frantic.”
She said he could see police at the doors with assault rifles and said they were no longer guarding the doors as of 9:30 p.m. local time.
Authorities have closed all access roads and streets surrounding the mall until further notice. Visitors and workers who were released from the mall after being locked down were taken to a nearby church to meet their loved ones.
Burlington is located approximately 65 miles north of Seattle. The Cascade Mall is an enclosed shopping mall in Burlington, Washington that opened in 1990, according to the mall’s website. It features J.C. Penney, TJ Maxx, and Macy’s stores, among other stores, restaurants and a movie theater.
On Sept. 17 a man stabbed 10 people at a Minnesota mall before being shot and killed by an off-duty police officer. Authorities say Dahir Ahmed Adan, 20, stabbed the people at the Crossroads Center in St. Cloud.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.