A manhunt is underway after four people were shot dead and two wounded late Friday at a shopping mall in Washington State.
Sergeant Mark Francis, police spokesman, stated that authorities suspect there was only one shooter in the attack at Cascade Mall in Burlington, describing him as a “Hispanic male wearing gray.”
Officials initially released a still from video surveillance of the young-looking suspect holding what appears to be a rifle, before releasing a closely cropped image of the same still showing only the suspect’s head and torso. According to the police he is armed with a rifle.
“Right now we can’t assume anything. So they’re still interviewing witnesses and trying to get a good idea of exactly what action to take next. We’re just asking people to, obviously, stay away from the area. Stay inside and obviously report anything suspicious that they may see,” Trooper Rick Johnson, another spokesman told CNN.
“Stay inside and obviously report anything suspicious that they may see,” he added.
The police evacuated the mall and swarmed the area. Medics rushed to the scene after the mall was initially placed on lockdown.
“I hear one shot and then stand kinda still and like two, three other people start running out saying ‘gun’ and then shot after shot after shot,” said Armando Patino, who was working at a cell phone store.
“I turn around and run to the store. Some people didn’t know where to go. I just moved them into the store,” he added. “We went in the back where we have a door and everything and we just stayed there until they told us to evacuate.”
Authorities are cooperating to find the suspect, as multiple law enforcement agencies and sniffer dogs were searching for him. FBI’s Seattle field office said it was also supporting local authorities in reviewing intelligence and was providing additional manpower.
All access roads and streets surrounding the mall were closed down 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 families.
The mall said it would stay closed on Saturday as a mark of respect for the victims.
“We are deeply saddened by the tragic event that occurred this evening. Our prayers and condolences are with the victims and their families,” a Facebook message read.