Suspect arrested in Century City mall scare staff KABC logo
Monday, March 18, 2019
Suspect arrested in Century City mall scare
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Police say Nicholas K. Oates of Missouri is responsible for an assault and fire that led to the evacuation of the Westfield Century City mall.

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Los Angeles police have arrested a Missouri man they say is responsible for Friday's assault and evacuation at the Westfield Century City mall.

Officers found Nicholas K. Oates, 25, sitting at the beach in Venice Saturday night and arrested him without incident.

They say Oates was at the mall Friday when he took some books off the shelves of a store and lit them on fire. When a store employee tried to stop him, Oates allegedly pulled out a gun and pointed it at the employee.

The store and eventually the entire shopping mall were evacuated.

In the chaos, there were also concerns about a suspicious package found at the scene, but it was determined to be harmless.

The next day police found what they believed to be the suspect's vehicle at the mall. They impounded it and were able to identify Oates as the suspect. A flyer was distributed and officers spotted him at Venice Beach around 8 p.m. Saturday.

Police are still searching for the gun.

Anyone with information is asked to call LAPD Major Crimes Division at (213)486-7260 or 1-877-ASK-LAPD. Anonymous tips can be provided to Crime Stoppers at (800)222-TIPS.