Justice System Had Several Chances To Stop Washington Mall Shooter—But Didn’t

posted on September 29, 2016

While Washington state has passed an increasingly stringent series of gun-control laws over the past several years, each supposedly a panacea for tragedies, the shooting at the Cascade Mall in Burlington, Wash., last Friday night is a powerfully tragic example of how these measures only affect the law-abiding.

After 20-year-old Arcan Cetin murdered five people in a Macy’s department store, police discovered Cetin had been arrested multiple times, had a history of mental health issues and had been ordered by a judge not to possess a firearm prior to the shooting. 

Cetin was first arrested after he reportedly put a hole in the wall, destroyed furniture and assaulted his mother during an argument. When he heard his stepfather tell a 911 dispatcher that there were guns in the home, Cetin rushed toward them, but was stopped and held for police. 

The following June, he was arrested for sexually assaulting two classmates. He then got into a violent altercation with his stepfather, which resulted in an assault charge and protective order. Overall, Cetin received three assault charges for attacking his stepfather, one for attacking his mother, two sexual assault charges and several smaller charges. He was never jailed. If he had been, five innocent people might be alive today.

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