A 25-year-old Missouri man who is accused of throwing the Century City Mall into chaos on Friday by starting a fire inside an Amazon store and then pointing a gun at store personnel causing the mall to be evacuated was arrested by Los Angeles police in Venice, the department said Sunday.
Nicholas K. Oates was arrested about 8 p.m. Saturday by officers from the Los Angeles Police Department’s Pacific Division assigned to the Venice Beach Task Force who recognized the suspect sitting at a nearby beach at the Venice boardwalk and took him into custody, the LAPD reported.
Oates allegedly pulled several books from shelves and then lit them on fire, the LAPD said. A store employee tried to stop Oates, but he allegedly pulled out a handgun and pointed it at the employee, causing the store to be evacuated. After that the shopping center was also evacuated. A motive for Oates’ alleged actions is unknown at this point.
Oates is being held in lieu of $75,000 bail, according to Los Angeles County jail records. There’s no word yet on when he will be arraigned.
The Westfield Century City mall was evacuated for more than five hours on Friday as police, firefighters and a bomb squad responded to a report of a man with a gun and a fire inside the Amazon bookstore.
Smoke was seen coming from the Amazon store at about 2 p.m.
Police reported about 6 p.m. that the item was not explosive and the evacuation was over. Police had initially said the mall was being reopened, but later reported that stores would remain closed until Saturday morning.
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