PORTLAND, Ore. — Police say the man who opened fire in a suburban Portland shopping mall apparently killed himself after fatally shooting two people and wounding a third.
Clackamas County sheriff’s Lt. James Rhodes says law enforcement who flooded the Clackamas Town Center in response to the afternoon shooting didn’t fire any shots.
Witnesses described a scene of chaos and disbelief as a gunman wearing some sort of camouflage outfit and a white mask shot an initial burst of fire and then more rounds at Clackamas Town Center. Shoppers tried to find safe areas as teams of police officers began entering the mall to find the shooter.
Authorities were going store-to-store to secure the scene and to escort hiding shoppers outside, but Rhodes said there was no indication that there was more than one shooter.
Austin Patty, 20, who works at Macy’s, said he saw a man in a white mask carrying a rifle and wearing a bulletproof vest.
He heard the gunman say “I am the shooter,” as if announcing himself, Patty said. He then fired several shots paced seconds apart.
A series of rapid-fire shots in short succession followed. Patty said he ducked to the ground, then ran.
His Macy’s co-worker, Pam Moore, told The Associated Press the gunman was short, with dark hair, dressed in camouflage. He had body armor and a rifle.
“I heard about 20 shots and everyone hit the ground,” Moore said. “That’s when we all just ran.”
Shaun Wik, 20, from Fairview, said he was Christmas shopping with his girlfriend and opened a fortune cookie at the food court. Inside was written “live for today, remember yesterday, think of tomorrow.”
As he read it, he heard three shots. He heard a man he believes was the gunman shout, “Get down!” but Wik and his girlfriend ran. He heard seven or eight more shots. He didn’t turn around.
“If I had looked back, I might not be standing here,” Wik said. “I might have been one of the ones who got hit.”
Tiffany Turgetto and her husband of Gladstone had exited Macy’s through the first floor when they heard the gunshots coming from the second floor of the mall.
“People in front of us people were dropping, finding covering,” she told the AP. “People were yelling screaming and gasping, yelling to get out. The lady next to us, she threw a chair and started running. We couldn’t run because the chair was there.”
Turgetto and her husband and other people were able to quickly leave through a Barnes & Noble bookstore before the police arrived and locked down the mall.
“I had left my phone at home. I was telling people to call 911. Surprisingly, people are around me, no one was calling 911. I think people were in shock.”