Two people have been killed and another has been wounded as a man opened fire in a shopping mall in a suburban area in Portland. The incident occurred on Tuesday, December 11, at around 3:30 p.m. local time.
The shooter arrived at the food court at Clackamas Town Center wearing a bulletproof vest and a white mask. He used a military rifle to fire into the crowd. USA Today writes that, before he started shooting, he uttered the phrase "I am the shooter."
By the time police could apprehend him, he had turned the gun to himself, Clackamas County sheriff's Lt. James Rhodes states. According to witness accounts relayed by the Wall Street Journal, he fired approximately 60 rounds in total, in a methodical manner.
“He kept on shooting, and he kept on walking. [...] He wasn't running. He was walking so slow. He dropped the thing he used to load bullets, and he just slowly picked it up and put back in again,” notes Alina Pavlenko, an employee at a cupcake stand in the mall.
Four SWAT teams were sent out after the dispatcher received numerous 911 calls. Police reports detail that no shot was fired by law enforcement, at the scene. As there were some 10,000 people in the mall, the sheriff describes “it was chaos.”
Police have not released the identity of the shooter; however, they mentioned that there was only one firearm recovered at the scene.
“We believe there was only one shooter involved, and that person is deceased,” Rhodes explains.
An investigation is on its way to determine the killer's motivation, and whether or not he was aiming at a specific person.
“We don't know if this was random or targeted at this time, but that's certainly something we will be addressing,” said Lt. Rhodes.
“The situation is over. [...] Now we are moving into the investigative phase. [...] These things aren't supposed to happen,” Sheriff Roberts adds.