At least four people have been shot dead at a shopping centre in the Seattle area of Washington State in the US on Friday (23 September) evening. All the four deceased are women, police said.

The attack, which also left one person injured, occurred at Cascade Mall in Burlington, about 65 miles (105km) north of Seattle, according to Washington State Patrol and media reports.

The suspect is reportedly on the loose after he shot several people inside a Macy's department store at the mall. No motive has yet been established. The state police initially said they were not certain how many attackers fired the shots.

The area around the mall has been cordoned off and a search surrounding the neighbourhood is underway.

Washington State Patrol spokesman Sgt Mark Francis said on Twitter at 8.03pm local time (4am BST on 24 September): "We're actively searching for suspect, tracking leads."

He said the suspected shooter fled before the police arrived on the scene. The man was last seen walking towards the nearby Interstate 5 motorway. Francis released a picture of the suspect and said he was armed with a rifle. The man was described as a "Hispanic" who was "wearing grey".

Francis added that the emergency medical service team had entered the shopping mall "to attend to injured". People who were stuck in the mall were evacuated to a nearby church, he tweeted.

Seattle Times said details about the deceased were not available yet. Friday's attack was the sixth mass shooting in Washington state this year.