BURLINGTON, Wash. - Heart-shaped balloons wave across the sign of the Cascade Mall where one year ago today, five people lost their lives inside the Macy’s department store.
The names of those victims were written on a sign at Macy's next to a bouquet of white flowers in a glass case. The display sits on floor tiles with the hashtag #SkagitStrong.
“We’re still dealing with it,” said Burlington Mayor Steve Sexton.
Sexton says Skagit Valley showed its strength during this last year. He says although it has been a tough journey for families and the first responders, this community has come a long way.
“It’s shown us we really need to lean on each other when times get tough like that, it’s how we got through it, really,” said Sexton.
Police say one year ago 20-year-old Arcan Cetin walked into the Macy's department store shooting four women and one man. The youngest victim a 16-year-old teenager who was also a cancer survivor.
Cetin was captured by police 30 hours later. Last April, Cetin committed suicide while at the Snohomish County jail. His family says he had psychiatric problems.
“There’s some level of disappoint that he hasn’t gone through the process and achieved a level of justice at the end of the case but at the same time there might be a sense of closure because it is over,” said Rosemary Kaholokula, chief criminal deputy prosecutor for Skagit County.
“In my personal opinion, he’ll see his justice greater than any man can level upon him,” said Sexton.
This tight-knit community may never know why this happened, but one year later, Sexton says this community is not alone in this kind of grief, it’s a painful reminder for him to simply love those around you.
“Hug your kids, kiss your wife, all them you love them and watch out for each other, still. The world hasn’t changed much since then,” said Sexton.