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Deadly shooting at Clackamas, Ore., mall

On Dec. 11 a sole gunman entered the Clackamas Town Center mall near Portland and opened fire. He killed two people before turning his weapon on himself.

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mallshootingPORTLAND – Days before the massacre of schoolchildren in Connecticut, another mysterious young man with an assault rifle attacked an Oregon mall, slaying two people and seriously wounding a third before killing himself.

This weekend, the surviving victim opened up about the Dec. 11 rampage at Clackamas Town Center in a Portland suburb.

Kristina Shevchenko, 15, took  a round in her chest from an AR-15 assault rifle. The bullet fragmented and collapsed one of her lungs.

A doctor had told the LosAngeles Times that she was a “fighter” but that her wounds were more like those sustained by police or soldiers.

For more on this LA Times story, click here.

audioSEATTLE — It’s a gut wrenching call first responders are trained for.

“Sounds like it may actually be an active shooter,” said a dispatch receiver in Oregon, shortly after accused gunman Jacob Tyler Roberts opened fire inside the Clackamas Town Center Tuesday. Police got descriptions of a suspect possibly wearing a hockey a mask and armed with a semi automatic weapon.

“I heard I am the shooter and heard  five to six gunshots echoing,” said one witness.

The first batch of cops arrived in just one minute. What you hear on the police scanner during the shooting is chilling.

“We are out here on foot and there are people bailing out of here like crazy,” said a first responder.

Shoppers were running for their lives as officers stormed in.

“I have 3 or 4 guys that can make entry,” said one officer.

Setracon Inc. Security Consultant Jeff Slotnick said Colorado’s Columbine school massacre changed the way cops react to active shooter situation. Cops would have waited for the SWAT team before making entry in the past, but because of Columbine and other mass shootings all law enforcement officers go through active shooter training.

“The expectation is to move to the shooter as fast as possible, in some departments there could be three men teams to two all the way down to one person entry to get right to the shooter,” Slotnick said.

On Tuesday, by the time officers spotted the suspect he had taken his own life.

“The assault rifle is here, he has a hockey mask with him,” said an officer.

Then the attention went immediately to finding anyone who may have been hurt.

“I want two people left with him anybody else go ahead and start a slow clear to locate other victims that need help that is what we will move to,”said an officer.

Mall shootings are nothing new, and in years past shots rang out at both Tacoma Mall and Southcenter Mallr. Jay Ovanni, who lost his cousin in the Southcenter shooting in 2008, said being close to a mall shooting is a harrowing experience.

“Since that happened you have to watch your back to see who is around you behind you,” said Ovanni.

Ovanni and others are relieved to hear about the extra police training and communication.

FriendsCLACKAMAS, Ore. — By all initial accounts, 22-year-old Jacob Roberts was a fairly normal, fun-loving guy before he opened fire at a Clackamas County mall Tuesday.

According to officials, Roberts had no criminal history. Now, officers are searching Robert’s house to find clues for the motive to the shooting that left 2 dead.

“Our investigation is showing that he has no significant criminal history,” Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office Sgt. Adam Phillips said. “He has had contact with the police in casual setting as a crime victim, but not as a suspect in any crimes here in Clackamas county. And none regionally that we have been able to turn over yet.”

Roberts’ Facebook page sheds little light on who Roberts was. He described himself as an “adrenaline junkie” who would do what he wanted.Roberts’ mother issued a statement through a friend, saying: “She has no understanding or explanation for her son’s behavior and requests that her privacy be respected. She’s very sad and want everybody to know that she’s so sorry what Jake did an that its so out of his character.”

Friends and neighbors agreed that it was hard to imagine Roberts would do such a thing.

Amber Jacobson had known the shooter since high school.

“He was sweet to me and to most people I knew and it was really upsetting to imagine that he did this,” Jacobson said.

She hinted that Roberts had a history of mental illness, one that he never disclosed to anyone other than his close friends.

“He had a lot of problems but he didn’t want to tell anyone and mental illness is something that is a real problem and it’s a real health condition and people think that they’re crazy and that there’s something, like, bad about being mentally ill,” Jacobson said. “It’s a perception that needs to change for people like him to get help.”

But Roberts’ friends agree that no matter what illness Roberts had, his shooting could not be excused.

“It is extraordinary tragic and it makes me wonder where the talk is about gun control,” said Adam Purcell, a friend of the shooter. “I’m sick of this happening.”

Local News
12/12/12

Local malls make changes to security following shooting

TacomamallTACOMA — Tacoma Mall made changes to some of it’s security following a deadly shooting in Clackamas County, Ore.

The mall has added security cameras, and officers are conducting annual excersises built around scenerios such as the one in Oregon.

But as the news of the shooting in Oregon came down, it brought up particular memories of a shooting at the Tacoma Mall in 2006.

Dan McKown was a victim in the Tacoma Mall shooting in 2006 when Dominick Maldonado went into the mall and opened fire on shoppers.  Now paralyzed, he said watching scenes from the Oregon shooting brought back painful memories.

“I get really annoyed, irritated and resentful and frustrated at the fact that people are willing to do this to one another,” McKown said.

I Dominick Maldonado went into the Tacoma Mall, and opened fire on shoppers with a semi-automatic rifle.

McKown, who was armed with a concealed weapon at the time of the shooting, tried to stop him.

“When I drew my pistol and hit the edge of the store, it’s in your mind that ‘this is the path I’ve chosen,’” McKown said. “I’ve got to ride this through.”

Several people were shot and injured but McKown was hit five times in the torso and has been in a wheelchair ever since the attack. But he doesn’t regret trying to help.

“I’m not going to live at the expense of others around me,” McKown said. “If something happens, I need to be involved. I mean it’s our God given responsibility to be our brother’s keeper.”

He believes, even if shoppers can’t step up to help, they need to be more aware, and report anything suspicious.

General Growth Properties, which owns the Clackamas Town Center in Oregon, also owns several malls in Washington state, including Westlake Center and the Alderwood Mall. Carol Hildahl, a spokesperson for Alderwood Mall said her staff “is very touched by what happened in Oregon.” She also said her mall is as prepared as it can be for a situation like that, with public safety measures that have been customized by local police.

“It’s not always visible to shoppers but they are there,” Hildahl said.

RobertsCLACKAMAS, Ore. – As the immediate terror from the shooting in the Clackamas Mall shooting subsides, investigators are now tasked with finding out as much information as they can about the shooter and his motives.

Investigators spent much of the day Wendesday gathering information about the actual shooting. Police tried to discover how many rounds 22-year-old Jacob Roberts of Portland fired from a stolen semi-automatic AR-15 rifle.

Officials said he was Roberts wore a tactical vest at the time of the shooting.  He was also wearing a hockey-style face mask.

Witnesses present during the shooting may help answer the question as to why Roberts went on a deadly spree. One witness, Meena, said she was shopping for clothes when the gunman approached.

“I was in the Macy’s store shopping and a slender, white man in black wearing a hockey mask, kind of like Friday the 13th version sort of a white plain faced hockey mask, came jogging through Macy’s running toward the public area and he was holding an assault rifle,” Meena said.

According to police, Roberts lived just minutes from the shooting. Neighbors said they couldn’t believe what happened.

“It makes you feel funny that he would live that close to you that he could do harm to people,” neighbor Carole Kinney said.

One neighbor said Roberts was a friendly, cordial person.

“The only time I talked to him was when I said ‘hello,’” Hau Nguyen said. “He waived his hand. He seemed normal to me. Nothing out of the ordinary.”

Robert’s Facebook page sheds very little light on who he was. There’s a picture of him taking target practice and a short biography, where he describes himself as an “adrenaline junky,” who will “do what I want.”

Local News
12/12/12

Mall Santa talks about deadly shooting

santa mall shootingWorking inside the Clackamas Town Center mall, this Santa relates what happened during the shooting.

clackamas shooting victimsCLACKAMAS, ORE. — About 3:30 p.m. on Tuesday, a man entered the Clackamas Town Center mall south of Portland and opened fire, killing two people before turning the gun on himself.

The Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office identified the suspect Wednesday as Jacob Tyler Roberts, 22, of Portland. Police said that Roberts was armed with an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle, which was stolen yesterday from someone Roberts knew.

During the attack, Roberts was wearing a load-bearing vest — a vest typically used by the military to hold various attachments or ammunition — and a hockey-style face mask.

Police have not determined how many shots Roberts actually fired during the incident, but said they believe he was carrying a large amount of ammunition. There is no known motive at this time, but police do not believe that Roberts knew his victims.

The victims have been identified as Cindy Ann Yuille, 54, of Portland and Steven Matthew Forsyth, 45, of West Linn. Another victim, teenager Kristina Shevchenko, survived the incident and is being treated at Oregon Health & Science University.

Shevchenko also recently survived a head-on fatal car accident in August, according to a Facebook page maintained by a family member. Shevchenko was at the mall with her friend when the gunman came out the Macy’s store and started firing.

Family members said she was listed in serious condition at a Portland hospital. Some bullet fragments hit her lung and liver. The incident was Shevchenko’s second near-death experience in months, officials said, after she was hit by a drunk driver while riding in a van. Her family said she is conscious and talking.

“We are optimistic about her recovery, but we have to be realistic,” a family member said on her Facebook page. “(This was) a serious wound from an assault rifle.”

Family members also wanted to thank Shevchenko’s friend, who stayed with her at the mall after she was shot.

“The first person to be thanked is Alyona, her friend and schoolmate at Clackamas Middle School,” her family said. “She immediately called 911 and remained by her side until the emergency service providers arrived.”

In a statement, Yuille’s family said that, “Cindy was everybody’s friend. She was a wonderful person who was very caring and put others first.” Yulle lived in Northeast Portland and was shopping at the mall when she was shot.

Forsyth’s family said that he “was a loving husband, father of two children, son, brother, uncle, youth sports coach and friend to the many people who had the privilege to meet him.” He owned a store at the mall, his family said.

“Steve was one of the most passionate people with a true entrepreneurial spirit that drove him to start his business, Coastoms. He had a great sense of humor and a zest for life. He had vision and a belief in others that brought great joy and value to many lives. He will be sorely missed by all who knew him.”

portland shooting suspectPORTLAND — A man shot and killed two people shortly before killing himself Tuesday night at Clackamas Town Center mall near Portland, the Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office reported.

The call of a shooter came in to 911 around 3:30 p.m. Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office Lt. James Rhodes said two people were shot dead in an open area of the mall and one other was injured. According to sources, the injured person is a 15-year-old girl. She was shot in the chest and is in stable condition at an area hospital.

Officials said the shooter died by a self-inflicted gunshot wound shortly after opening fire.

Nearly 100 officers responded to the shooting located at 11900 Southeast 82nd Avenue in Happy Valley, Ore. People were locked in the mall as police tried to clear the area, Rhodes said. Officials said the mall would be closed Wednesday. There was no timeline for when the mall would reopen.

“We have nearly one hundred officers, from city, state, federal, local law enforcement, and teams carefully searching the mall for anybody else that might be injured,” Rhodes said. “We will search this entire mall until we are certain it is secure and everybody has been removed.”

No details about the shooter’s motives or description were immediately available. The age and names of the victims were also not available.

“Where it began specifically in the mall is unclear,” Rhodes said. “There was multiple people, multiple witness accounts from inside the mall and various stores.”

hiding in the back of a store at the mall

Worried patrons hiding in the back of the mall. Courtesy KPTV.

Police said they believe only one shooter was responsible.

The mall is 1.4 million-square-feet and police said it will take some time to investigate the shooting.

“It’s going to be an exhaustive search,” said Clackamas County Sheriff Craig Roberts.

The Oregonian newspaper reported that the man used a semiautomatic rifle and may have been wearing body armor. KPTV in Portland reported that witnesses said the shooter was tall and slender, and wearing a black hockey mask and carrying an assault rifle.

According to David Moran, a mall employee and witness to the shooting, multiple “bangs” of gunfire rang out before people knew what was going on.

“I was talking to my employee,” Moran said. “We heard a big bang and we covered our ears and got down. Then five seconds later we heard rapid fire, bang, bang, bang, and I just took off running.”

Hana, a jewlry store worker at the mall, told KPTV that the “shots never ended.”

“It was just over and over and over,” Hana said. “It was just instant fear. We all just got to the back as fast as we could. The scariest thing was just seeing people running for their lives as fast as they could.”

Ramps of Interstate 205 near the mall were closed in both directions shortly after the shooting. Roberts said as investigators begin to process information, it’s important to remember the gravity of the incident.

“The mall is supposed to be a place we can all take our families,” Roberts said. “These things aren’t supposed to happen.”

Clackamas Town Center released a statement on their Facebook page Tuesday night, saying:

“Our thoughts and prayers are with everyone who was in the mall at the time of this unfortunate incident. We are grateful to have the stellar support of all the law enforcement agencies and rescue personnel in the area, who immediately took action and continue to ensure the safety of everyone remaining on the property.”

YouTube video of a witness on the scene:

YouTube video of police scanner traffic:

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