The suspected gunman who caused a panic among shoppers at the Westfield Century City mall on Friday was a “disgruntled Amazon employee” who now faces eight charges, Los Angeles Police Chief Michel Moore said Tuesday.
Nicholas K. Oates, 25, who was arrested Saturday night after officers spotted him at the Venice Beach Boardwalk, faces six counts of arson and one count each of burglary and assault with a deadly weapon, Moore said.
Citing the ongoing investigation, Moore revealed few details about Oates but said he came from Missouri and had yet to establish a residence in Los Angeles. Prosecutors charged Oates on Tuesday, Moore said.
“Mr. Oates confessed to having involvement in the event,” Moore said at an afternoon news conference. “This was a premeditated act. He will face the consequences for his actions.”
On Friday, police responded to initial reports of a man with a gun inside the mall’s Amazon store about 12:40 p.m. Chaos broke out as some shoppers ran outside. Some believed an active shooter roamed the mall.
Other shoppers sheltered in place and evacuated several hours later. Officers couldn’t find the gunman and determined that a suspicious package found in the Amazon store did not contain an explosive.
Moore said Oates set fires in the children's book section and pointed a handgun at an employee. The weapon believed to be used in the incident has not been found.
The chief praised police and firefighters for rushing inside to possibly encounter an active shooter. Moore credited the mall owners for having “state of the art” cameras at the shopping center.
The technology helped investigators track the suspect before and after the incident, Moore said. It also allowed them to release a surveillance camera photo on social media of the gunman early Saturday.