The suspected shooter in the Indiana mall mass shooting was carrying two rifles, a pistol and more than 100 rounds, authorities said Monday, and the Good Samaritan who shot him is credited with saving “countless lives”.
Three people were killed Sunday at the Greenwood Park Mall outside Indianapolis. Two other people were injured and the shooter also died.
The alleged shooter has been identified by authorities as 20-year-old Jonathan Douglas Sapirman of Greenwood. Sapirman entered the Greenwood Park mall and went to the restrooms near the food court around 4:54 p.m. Sunday, Greenwood Police Chief Jim Ison said Monday.
Sapirman remained in the bathroom for 62 minutes, then came out and began firing near and into the mall’s food court with a SIG Sauer rifle, killing three people.
The victims were identified as husband and wife Pedro Pineda, 56, and Rosa Mirian Rivera de Pineda, 37, both of Indianapolis; and Victor Gomez, 30, of Indianapolis.
Elisjsha Dicken, 22, of Seymour, Indiana, was at the mall with his girlfriend, saw the shooter and minutes after Sapirman first opened fire, returned fire with a handgun and killed Sapirman , said Ison.
“His actions were nothing short of heroic,” Ison said. “He engaged the ranged shooter with a handgun, was very skilled at it, very tactically sound. And as he closed in on the suspect, he was also waving people out behind him.”
Investigators have no indication that Dicken has any military or law enforcement background, Ison said.
In total, investigators recovered 24 rifle rounds fired by Sapirman and 10 rounds fired by Dicken, Ison said.
Although Sapirman had other weapons, he only managed to fire a single rifle, Ison said. Authorities did not find a motive, and Sapirman had no criminal record as an adult. He had only minor interactions with law enforcement as a minor for a school fight and a runaway from home, Ison said.
“There was no indication that he was violent or unstable,” he said. Sapirman’s parents told investigators.
A second rifle was found by investigators in a bathroom, Ison said. The suspect’s mobile phone was discovered in a bathroom toilet, he said.
Sapirman had “on him” several magazines and more than 100 rounds of rounds as well as a handgun, Ison said.
Investigators learned Sapirman frequented a gun store and shooting range for the past two years, where he purchased ammunition and honed his shooting skills, Ison said.
Sapirman lived alone, Ison said, and investigators were checking reports that he was at risk of deportation. Sapirman had resigned from a warehouse job in May, Ison said.
In addition to those killed, a 22-year-old woman suffered a “leg injury” and is recovering, Ison said, and a 12-year-old girl suffered minor injuries when a bullet ricocheted and hit her.
Greenwood Mayor Mark W. Myers said Monday, “I mourn these senseless killings. And I weep for the scars left on the victims and on our community.
Myers also said of Dicken, “This young man, Greenwood’s Good Samaritan, acted in seconds, stopping the shooter and saving countless lives.”
Ty Straub, 35, of Indianapolis, was at the mall on Sunday, about 300 feet from the food court, when he began to hear screams and saw a stampede of people running over each other.
“I saw people jostling and running as fast as they could. So as soon as I saw this, I wasted no time. I started running,” he told NBC News.
In the chaos, he heard someone say “shooter, shooter”, but did not hear any gunshots himself.
“I basically ran like the wind. I said to everyone around me with what little breath I had, ‘They said there’s a shooter, there’s a shooter. Go ahead, go ahead,” he recalls.
Straub said, “I’ve never been so scared in my life.”
He managed to get back to his car and police and ambulances arrived a few minutes later.
“Something you never think you’ll ever witness, seems like crazy, because times are getting more that we should all have our heads on a pivot and be ready for anything,” Straub said.
The motive and circumstances of the shooting are under investigation, Ison said.
Officers, including members of the Indianapolis Department SWAT team, went through the mall Sunday night to make sure no injured people were hiding or needed help, an Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department officer said.
A backpack that police say was left by the shooter in a bathroom turned out not to be a threat, he said.
The Greenwood Park Mall condemned the shooting on Monday, saying, “Violence has no place in this community or any other.”
“We mourn the victims of yesterday’s horrific tragedy in Greenwood,” the statement read. “We are grateful for the forceful response from first responders, including the heroic actions of the Good Samaritan who arrested the suspect.”
The mall was closed on Monday.
Mike Pence, who served as governor of Indiana from 2013 to 2017 and vice president under Donald Trump, said monday morning. “Our prayers are with the dead and injured.” He praised the citizen who stopped the shooter, calling him a “Hoosier Hero”.
Three hours after the Greenwood Park Mall shooting, another person was killed and three were injured when gunfire erupted in Don Challis Park, just 7 miles south in another Indianapolis suburb, Beech Grove.
“Our Beech Grove EMS, which I think is the best, believe it or not, was unavailable for this incident because our ambulances were out of service helping people at Greenwood Mall,” Mayor Dennis said Monday. Buckley to reporters. “We don’t choose, we help.”
Authorities in Beech Grove thanked first responders from other nearby communities for filling the void Sunday night.
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