Three dead, one injured in Oregon mall shooting
In Portland, Oregon Tuesday, a gunman opened fire in a shopping mall crowded with holiday shoppers, killing two and injuring one before apparently turning the gun on himself.
It started at around 3:30 pm Tuesday when reports of gunfire at the Clackamas Town Center Mall drew an all-hands response of more than a hundred uniformed first-responders, four SWAT teams and Medivac helicopters.
Witnesses say a man dressed in black and wearing some kind of mask opened fire in the mall's food court with what some described as an assault rifle.
"People running, babies crying, it was unreal," said one witness.
When the shooting ended, three people were dead including the gunman, and one shooting victim was injured badly, but alive.
"There are two confirmed deceased. We have a third person that was injured and is receiving medical treatment right now. We have the shooter who died of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound," said Sgt. Adam Phillips, Clackamas County Sheriff's Officer.
Mark Hake works at a video game store in the mall, and says he'll never forget what he witnessed.
"I seen one, one person down. They were performing CPR on her, and that's all I seen. I didn't stick around long enough to find out," he said.
But there were some lucky turns as the horror unfolded. The mall-Santa right near the food court was in a lull and not many children were around when the shooting started.
"I heard two shots and then after that I heard about 15, 16 more shots and decided that they were gun shots and I hit the floor," said the man who was working as Santa.
When police swarmed the mall within minutes of the first calls of shots fired, they were cheered by frightened shoppers.
"After seeing at least a hundred police officers coming within 5 or 10 minutes I said, 'Way to go law enforcement agencies,'" said one witness.
But they didn't know for long minutes that the gunman had turned his weapon on himself, and that before doing so, witnesses said his gun had jammed or there might well have been more carnage.
Fourteen-year-old Hanna Baggs guessed from the start that what she was watching was the start of something awful.
"He was carrying a gun with both hands and looked like he was about to fire, like he was going to shoot somebody," she said.
Another shooting in a public place that left thousands locked inside for their safety, while loved ones and friends were kept outside, waiting for word.
"I just want to hug her and i want her out," said Sheri Everest, whose daughter was Christmas shopping when the ordeal began. They texted each other until Everest knew her daughter was safe.
"I said, 'Are you still locked up? They haven't got the shooter,' and she said, 'Yes, I know and we are. Apparently it was at Nordstrom. I was sitting right outside,'" said Everest, sobbing with relief.
Law enforcement officials say the mall will be closed Wednesday as the investigation continues, and they'll release the names of the victims and the alleged gunman once all personal details have been confirmed.