James Holmes

Stroke of luck and gun laws kept Washington state mall shooting from being much worse, police say

Stroke of luck and gun laws kept Washington state mall shooting from being much worse, police say

As bad as it was, the violence unleashed by a gunman this fall at a mall in Washington state could have been substantially worse, police say, if fate and gun laws had not intervened.

More than 30 moviegoers watching “The Magnificent Seven” in a Burlington mall theater could have been sitting targets had the suspect, a troubled, 20-year-old fast-food worker named Arcan Cetin, been able to buy other firearms that day and enter though a theater exit door he had propped open with his cellphone in what police say was an ambush plan, newly released records show.

The phone’s placement brings to mind the bloodshed at a movie theater in Aurora, Colo., in 2012 that left...

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