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Manhunt underway for gunman after four shot dead in shocking shopping centre rampage

Police officers outside the Cascade Mall, Washington State, where the horrendous shooting happened
Police officers outside the Cascade Mall, Washington State, where the horrendous shooting happened

US police are hunting for a gunman after four people were shot dead in a crowded shopping mall about 60 miles north of Seattle.

Officers are searching for a Hispanic man wearing black and armed with a rifle who was last seen walking towards the Interstate 5 motorway after the incident at the Cascade Mall in Burlington, Washington State.

The gunman's motive is not yet known.

Police said four females died, a male is critically ill and another female suffered non-life threatening injuries after shots were fired at Macy's.

The mall had been evacuated at about 8.30pm local time (4.30am BST) and emergency medical personnel were allowed to enter.

One witness, Tari Caswell, told reporters she was in the women's dressing room at Macy's when she heard "what sounded like four balloons popping".

She added: "Then I heard seven or eight more, and I just stayed quiet in the dressing room because it just didn't feel right. And it got very quiet. And then I heard a lady yelling for help, and a man came and got me and another lady, and we ran out of the store."

Stephanie Bose, an assistant general manager at Johnny Carino's Italian restaurant near Macy's, said she immediately locked the doors to the restaurant after hearing about the shooting from an employee's boyfriend.

"He was trying to go to the mall and people were screaming," she said. "It was frantic."

Washington governor Jay Inslee said tragedy had struck the state.

"We urge residents to heed all safety and detour warnings," he said.

"Stay close to your friends and loved ones as we await more information and, hopefully, news of the suspect's capture."

The Cascade Mall opened in 1990, and features JC Penney, TJ Maxx and Macy's stores, as well as restaurants and a cinema.

On September 17, a man stabbed 10 people at a Minnesota mall. Dahir Ahmed Adan, 20, went on the rampage at the Crossroads Centre in St Cloud, Minnesota, before being shot and killed by an off-duty police officer.