Missouri Man Charged in Arson, Assault at Westfield Century City Mall That Prompted Evacuation, Large Police Response

A Missouri man has been charged in an assault and arson at the Westfield Century City Mall that prompted the evacuation of the shopping center and a large police response, officials announced Tuesday.

From left: Nicholas K. Oates, 25, is seen in a driver's license photo released by Los Angeles police, and a still from store surveillance shows the suspect who caused a gun scare at the Westfield Century City mall.

From left: Nicholas K. Oates, 25, is seen in a driver's license photo released by Los Angeles police, and a still from store surveillance shows the suspect who caused a gun scare at the Westfield Century City mall.

Nicholas K. Oates, 25, was arrested March 16, a day after the incident unfolded at the mall.

He faces one count of second-degree burglary, six counts of arson and one count of assault with a firearm, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office.

Oates allegedly set books on fire in the children’s section of the Amazon Books store inside the shopping center. An employee confronted the suspect, who allegedly pulled out a handgun and pointed it at the employee. Los Angeles Police Department officials said the weapon was a compact black semi-automatic pistol.

Oates then lit more items on fire at the store, then ran away.

Mall patrons were evacuated during the incident as a precaution and as investigators searched the mall. It was reopened later that day.

Oates was arrested in Venice after mall security guards found his vehicle and evidence led authorities to identify him.

Oates is expected to be arraigned Tuesday. He faces up to 21 years in prison.

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