Los Angeles, United States: Authorities say three people were killed and two injured when a gunman opened fire at a mall north of Seattle.
Washington State Patrol spokesman Mark Francis said Friday night that three females were killed, one male suffered life-threatening injuries and another female suffered non-life threatening injuries at the Cascade Mall in Burlington, Washington.
Authorities had previously said four people were killed, but updated the number of fatalities after they were able to secure the scene.
Authorities were searching for a gunman they described as a Hispanic male wearing a black shirt.
Four people dead after firing at Cascade Mall in Washington. pic.twitter.com/E8GjV6juxD
— ANI (@ANI_news) September 24, 2016
Police are searching for at least one shooter and are sweeping stores in the mall, Police spokesman Sergeant Mark Francis said about the shooting at the Cascade mall in Burlington, about a 100 km north of Seattle.
Francis described the shooter as a "Hispanic male wearing gray."
Local police described the suspect as appearing between 20 to 25 years old, with a "skinny built", black messy hair and wearing a black shirt.
The suspect was last seen walking toward the Interstate 5 highway from the mall before police arrived, Francis said, adding: "We're actively searching for suspect, tracking leads, etc."
The mall was being evacuated.
"EMS starting to enter to attend to injured inside Mall w/ police escort and after initial clearance," Francis said on Twitter shortly before 8:30 pm (0330 GMT), referring to emergency medical services.
EMS starting to enter to attend to injured inside Mall w/ police escort and after initial clearance. pic.twitter.com/Nkfb7co6sa
— Sgt. Mark Francis (@wspd7pio) September 24, 2016
"Once EMS gets in, holding out hope that the number confirmed goes down."
Francis said survivors would be transported by bus to a nearby church in Burlington, which is located about 70 miles (110 kilometers) north of Seattle in the US Pacific Northwest state.
Brandi Montreuil, who was at the mall, said she was at the movies when they were told to leave.
"I didn't know anything. The theater attendant came in and apologised for stopping the movie and said they (theater staff) were asked to have everyone leave immediately," she was quoted as saying by CNN. She said at first she thought it was a drill.
"But you immediately think about what happened in Aurora, Colorado, so you start moving faster," Montreuil said, referring to the shooting in 2012 that left 12 dead.
When they got outside, they saw numerous police vehicles, but with no officers in sight.
"We didn't know if it was a fire so we were looking for smoke of some kind. Then a few officers started canvassing through the crowds asking if anybody saw anything," Montreuil said.
She said an officer "with a large gun started yelling for people to leave, and fast".
Witnesses told KOMO News that a shooter walked into Macy's and opened fire. Nearby businesses were evacuated, the television station added.
In a statement, Governor Jay Inslee said 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. 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."
With input from agencies
First Published On : Sep 24, 2016 09:23 IST