SEATTLE – A man charged with killing five people at a mall in Washington State last year was found hanging in his jail cell in an apparent suicide, authorities said Monday. He was dead when discovered.
Arcan Cetin, 20, (pictured) was found hanging Sunday evening, said Rosemary Kaholokula, chief criminal deputy prosecutor for Skagit County.
He was being held in neighboring Snohomish County, where he was awaiting the results of a mental competency evaluation, reported Fox News.
The Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office runs the jail. They said in a news release Monday that a 20-year-old inmate had been found unresponsive, and that efforts to revive the prisoner failed. The death is under investigation, read the statement.
Cetin was accused of shooting a teenage girl, a man and three women in a department store at Cascade Mall in Burlington, 65 miles north of Seattle, on Sept. 23. Investigators captured him about 30 hours later near his apartment. They said he confessed during police interviews but did not explain why he did it.
Chuck Eagan was one of the victim’s. His family said in a written statement they were shocked by the death.
“We pray that the man repented to God before his death,” the statement said. “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 crimes charged qualified Cetin for the death penalty. However, he had not entered pleas pending psychiatric evaluations.
According to the report, the 20-year-old had a history of violent behavior toward his family and ex-girlfriend. Cetin’s stepfather, David Marshall, said the family had been trying to get Cetin help for mental health issues.
Police reports indicated that Cetin told his ex that his father was connected to “bad people in Turkey.” Asked during interviews whether his Turkish relatives had ties to terrorist groups, Cetin said no. He also denied having contact with those relatives.
He said he had watched beheadings by the Islamic State group online but considered such terrorist actions wrong. Asked if ISIS had inspired the mall killings, Cetin responded, “I can’t answer that,” according to police.
The shootings were captured on surveillance video. The victims were Sarai Lara, 16, and Shayla Martin, 52, both of Mount Vernon; Eagan, 61, of Lake Stevens; Belinda Galde, 64, of Arlington; and Galde’s mother, Beatrice Dotson, 95, of Kingsport, Tennessee.
(Photo courtesy Washington State Patrol)