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Police: Greenwood mall shooter told ex he would 'take others' if he died

The shooter killed three people at the Greenwood Park Mall before an armed bystander, Elisjsha Dicken, shot and killed the shooter.

GREENWOOD, Indiana — The FBI and Greenwood Police Department are holding a joint news conference Wednesday on the mall mass shooting from July 17, 2022. 

The shooter killed three people at the Greenwood Park Mall before an armed bystander, Elisjsha Dicken, shot and killed the shooter. The Johnson County Prosecutor's Office reiterated to 13News it will not file any criminal charges against Dicken in connection to his efforts to stop the killer.

"It could've been a lot worse, and I'm thankful that it wasn't. We're thankful that he [Dicken] was there to prevent it from being any worse than it was," said Greenwood Police Chief Jim Ison as he called Dicken a hero.

The victims were 56-year-old Pedro Pineda, his wife 37-year-old Rosa Mirian Rivera de Pineda and 30-year-old Victor Gomez.

Ison said, while they have some answers to what happened, there are questions they will never have the answers to.

Police said the shooter was born in Columbus, Indiana, and lived there until his parents split when he was 5 years old. The shooter went with his mother to Florida and at times he was homeless. He had numerous juvenile disciplinary issues and had been in and out of the foster system six times.

"When he was in the DCS system, he did seek counseling quite often and in the school system," said a member of the FBI.

At the age of 17, he moved in with his brother in an apartment complex in Greenwood. He lived in the Polo Run Apartments from 2018 to 2022.

He quit his job in May 2022, and his brother removed his name from the lease with the shooter. The shooter's father then cut off financial support, and days before the mass shooting, the shooter received notice he was being evicted.

Police said the shooter used Reddit most often and made more than 700 comments on posts about mass shootings. His comments were more about debating and discussing the incidents and the tactics.

In December 2019, the FBI received a tip about someone taking a disturbing interest in mass shootings in online forums. The FBI tracked the posts to the Polo Run Apartments in Greenwood but could not identify a specific person as it was on the apartments' public Wi-Fi. With no criminal activity, the case was closed in March 2020.

Police did interview friends and family about the shooter and searched several properties.

Police said during an interview with a friend of the shooter, that friend said the shooter was anti-social and had a strong interest in guns and drugs.

Police talked to an ex-girlfriend of the shooter, and she told them they broke up 18 months before. She told them she was not surprised at all he was behind the mass shooting at the mall. Police said she told them the shooter was abusive and stuck a gun in her mouth during an argument. She said he had made comments that he didn't belong in this world, would be dead by 20 and that if he took his own life, he would take others with him. She told police the shooter was racist toward Black and Hispanic people.

Police said before leaving the mall bathroom, the shooter searched for the ex-girlfriend on Instagram. One of his last calls was to his brother about the eviction.

Credit: Greenwood Police Department

Police said there is no clear reason or motive for the shooting or the location chosen. Ison said the shooter left no note or manifesto on his motivation. Police also said there is no definitive proof those killed were targeted due to race or just because of close proximity as he exited the bathroom.

Credit: Greenwood Police Department

"It absolutely has taken a toll on this community. You never expect something like this. It always happens somewhere else, right? The fact of the matter is it can happen anywhere. You were talking about security measures at the mall. He walked into the mall with a backpack on, texting, looked like he was texting," Ison said. "Not one person he walked by caught his attention, or you saw a change in their demeanor. I don't know how you stop that, short of putting metal detectors at every door and entrance. All we can hope for is having people like Elisjsha Dicken in the right place at the right time."

Dicken's attorney, Guy Relford, said 22-year-old Dicken was simply having a meal with girlfriend at the mall.

"His first thought was simply I need to protect people. I need to stop this person from hurting people," Relford said.

Relford said it was incredible how Dicken was able to be so "cool under fire."

Relford said Dicken does not want to be in the public eye and just wants his life to get back to normal. Relford said Dicken appreciates the support he has received.

Since the investigation has concluded, Relford said police will release Dicken's gun back to him.

Police said information could not be recovered from the shooter's computer hard drive, which was found in the oven at his apartment because it was too severely damaged.

Police said they were still trying to access information from the shooter's cellphone, which was found in a toilet at the Greenwood Park Mall. They did access cellphone and text message records, as well as search history.

"I don't think we anticipate finding much on the cellphone. It is a newer cellphone. We did subpoena his cellphone, so we have his call logs, texts, search records. What we don't have are pictures and videos he may have," Ison said. "When someone makes up their mind to do something evil like this, there is not a lot you can do to stop it."

Police said there was no known communication about planning of the shooting online or to friends or family.

"I don't believe he had plans to survive. There was a 4chan post that was circulating on social media that was taken about an hour before he went to the mall where the weapons that he used and the attire that we found him in with the chest rig and all of that, he had a gun to the back of his head: 'Name is Jonathan, and it's a good day to die,'" Ison shared.

Police said the only record of violence with the shooter prior to July 17 was he was in a fight at school, he had been caught with a knife at school and he was stopped for having drugs.

Police said the shooter had two rifles, a handgun and several magazines of ammunition in a backpack, but he only used one of the rifles.

Police said the shooter entered the mall at 4:54 p.m. on Sunday, July 17. He immediately entered the bathroom at the food court and stayed there for an hour and two minutes.

As the shooter left the bathroom, he began firing, causing chaos at the mall.

Credit: WTHR

Police said the shooter fired 24 rounds during the shooting. People inside the mall at the time of the shooting told 13News reporter Logan Gay that they heard 20 gunshots in the food court. An IMPD spokesman said it appears shots were only fired in the food court area.

At 5:57:03 p.m., Dicken, an armed bystander, fired on the shooter from 40 yards away, according to police. Within 15 seconds from when the shooting began, Dicken fired 10 rounds, hitting the shooter as the shooter tried to retreat into the bathroom but collapsed and died.

An autopsy found the shooter was shot eight times and none were self-inflicted.

Credit: The Law Offices of Guy A. Relford
Elisjsha Dicken, 22, of Seymour, has been identified as the person who pulled out a pistol he was carrying under the "Constitutional Carry" law to stop the suspect at the Greenwood Park Mall on Sunday.

Dicken had no police training or military background, according to police. He was carrying under the new "Constitutional Carry" law and did not have a permit. Police said Dicken learned to shoot from his grandfather.

The Johnson County Prosecutor's Office told 13News in the weeks after the shootings, "there is no intent to charge Dicken in connection with the shots he fired at the mall."

Police said the shooter left his job at a warehouse in May, and police are investigating statements from the shooter's family saying he was set to be evicted from his apartment.

People who knew the shooter said he had been shooting at a local gun range prior to the mass killing.

Credit: WTHR
13News confirmed a search was conducted Monday, July 18 at a residence in the Polo Run Apartments in connection to the shooter.

13News confirmed a search was conducted Monday, July 18 at a residence in the Polo Run Apartments in connection to the shooter. That's when police said they found the oven on at a high temperature and there was a laptop in it, along with a can of butane.

NOTE: A line about a representative from the Johnson County Prosecutor's Office attending was removed. The office instead said the Greenwood police chief will represent its position.

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