PORTLAND – A suspect and two victims were dead after a masked man went on a shooting rampage before taking his own life inside the Clackamas Town Center mall Tuesday afternoon.
A female victim was taken to the hospital with traumatic injuries and multiple other people were hurt, according to deputies. The woman was in serious condition, according to Oregon Health Sciences University.
Investigators said Tuesday night they had tentatively identified the suspected shooter. His name was not released.
A witness told KGW that up to 60 shots were fired by a man wearing a white mask and body armor, armed with a large assault-type rifle. The shooting took place at about 3:30 p.m. at the Southeast Portland area mall. Local, state and federal agents swarmed and shut down the mall, searching and evacuating any remaining employees or shoppers.
Lieutenant James Rhodes of the Clackamas County Sheriff's Office announced at a news conference just before 5 p.m. that the suspect had been "neutralized." Later police said the shooter was dead from a self-inflicted wound but did not identify him or the weapon used. No law enforcement officers fired any shots in the mall.
Sheriff Craig Roberts said their thoughts and prayers went out to the victims and their families. “For all of us, the mall is supposed to be a place we can all take our families, feel comfortable, this is the holidays … these things are never supposed to happen. We have a young lady at the hospital fighting for her life right now,” Roberts said.
Police agencies were able to “basically hunt down, find this guy,” in record time among an estimated 10,000 shoppers in the mall at the time, he added.
Several witnesses reported hearing the suspect announce "I am the shooter," before he began firing.
“All of a sudden, I just heard a series of gunshots… boom, boom, boom, boom, boom… whatever the shooter was shooting at, they continued to shoot,” said shopper Bill Hoff.
”I was sitting there by the door watching what was going on and then some guy just ran by in a white mask and an assault rifle and then I look out because I hear a few shots and he’s … and he’s sitting there and he’s pointing the gun at some people so we ran to the fitting room, grabbed some people then ran out to the back exit to get out of there," Macy's employee Mariah Saldana said.
“It was just shot after shot after shot. It was terrible. It was like a massacre,” witness Kira Rowland said.
Video: Witness raw video
Witnesses said the suspect fired several times until the rifle jammed and he the dropped a magazine onto the floor, then ran into the Macy's store.
Family members seeking info can call CCSO non-emergency number: 503-655-8211
Any witnesses were asked to contact police at (503) 655-8211.
KGW reporter Abbey Gibb said people were crying and shaking as they came out of the mall.
Dax McMillan, a former police officer, said a friend of his was right next to one of the victims. He said she told him that the gunman aimed at her but his gun jammed and she ran.
Witness Benjamin Christensen, who works in the mall, said he was also there when the shooting began. He heard one shot, then six or seven more. He then began helping to evacuate others out of the rear exits.
“There were just cops everywhere and sirens and ambulances coming in. I hope everyone is okay,” said a shopper named Isabel, who fled after the shooting. “It’s so close to a holiday. It’s terrible.”
Another witness told KGW she heard several gunshots near Nordstrom, before people ran for cover.
Reporter Pat Dooris described a heavy police and emergency vehicle presence as well as "a lot of chaos." One witness told him security forces helped shoppers get down to the ground and out of site after the shots were fired.
“A deputy is about 50 yards away from me. He has a shotgun out, he’s hiding behind a car,” said John Canzano, a well-known local sports columnist who happened to be at the mall at the time said.
The mall exit from Interstate 205 was closed by police until just after 5 p.m. Police said the mall would remain closed during the investigation.