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US mall gunman nabbed

LOS ANGELES, United States – Authorities said Saturday they have arrested the suspect behind a shooting that left five people dead at a shopping mall in the US state of Washington, about 24 hours after the killings.

“Gunman captured tonight by authorities,” Washington State Patrol spokesman Sergeant Mark Francis said on Twitter.

There were no other suspects.

The gunman opened fire with a rifle in the makeup section of a Macy’s department store late Friday, killing four women and a man, according to police.

The FBI office in Seattle said it had no evidence the shooting was terror-related.

The shooter – described as a Hispanic man in his late teens or early 20s – later left the store on foot, triggering an intense manhunt.

A weapon was recovered at Cascade Mall in Burlington, a town of about 8,000 people some 100 kilometers north of Seattle.

“I don’t know what his motivation was to do this,” Chris Cammock, police chief in the larger nearby town of Mount Vernon, told a news conference. “But I certainly plan to find out through the investigation, to the best of our ability.”

It was the latest chapter in America’s epidemic of gun violence.

Burlington Mayor Steve Sexton’s voice trembled as he noted that the randomness of gun violence in America – which causes an estimated 30,000 deaths a year – had hit his small town.

“This was a senseless act, the world knocking on our doorstep. It came to our little community,” Sexton said.

The shooting came amid fierce debate in America over gun control laws. It is a hot issue on the campaign trail ahead of the November 8 presidential election.

The shooter had walked in without a weapon, and appeared on security cameras about 10 minutes later with a rifle, said Cammock. (AFP)