The Portland Mall Shooting, as Told by Eyewitnesses

As many as 10,000 shoppers were ambling through the Clackamas Town Center mall Tuesday afternoon when the day's holiday cheer was broken by the sound of gunfire.

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Greg Wahl-Stephens / AP
Greg Wahl-Stephens / AP

Police and medics outside the scene of a multiple shooting at Clackamas Town Center Mall in Portland, Ore., Tuesday Dec. 11, 2012.

As many as 10,000 shoppers were ambling through the Clackamas Town Center mall Tuesday afternoon when the day’s holiday cheer was broken by the sound of gunfire. At 3:30 p.m., a masked gunman killed two people and critically wounded one at this mall in a suburb of Portland, Ore., before taking his own life. The rampage saw the  20-something shooter, whom police have so far declined to identify, stalking through the mall near the food court and Macy’s, brandishing an assault rifle and shooting “anyone who was in his line of sight,” according to Clackamas County Sheriff Craig Roberts. The incident sparked chaos in the mall, with workers forced to take quick action to lock down their stores and shoppers in the corridors sprinting to the parking lots for cover. Many tweeted messages of safety as local police attempted to make sense of the tragedy. News outlets covering the story spoke to survivors and eyewitnesses, who shared harrowing tales of escaping the gunfire.

“I heard him yell, ‘Get on the ground’ twice. Everyone scattered, hit the ground. People were getting trampled.” – Shawn Wik, 20 (The Oregonian)

“I was by Santa Claus in front of Macy’s when we heard, ‘Pow. Pow. Pow.’” People screamed and ran. I saw Santa drop to the floor.”  — Bob Schwab, WWII veteran (The Oregonian)

“I couldn’t count because they were going off so quick. People were screaming and pointing and running. It was just like your typical American nightmare.” – an unnamed Avon Bath & Beauty employee (The Oregonian)

“He was, like, 10 feet away from us, wearing a white mask and carrying something heavy with both hands. He went running into the store. I was scared, but I didn’t tell my mom because I didn’t want to get her upset.” — Hannah Baggs, 14 (The Oregonian)

“There were little kids in my department, there were families, moms. We just told everybody, ‘get inside the fitting rooms!’ We all just climbed in there and stood on top of the benches that are inside of our fitting rooms and we just waited.” – Kelsey Barrows, Macy’s employee (KGW News)

“Our hearts and prayers go out to the victims of the tragic shooting outside of the Macy’s store at Clackamas Town Center in Portland yesterday. We also deeply appreciate the selfless actions of our associates who helped customers and their colleagues to safety during the incident.” — Kelley Tarzian, Macy’s spokeswoman, in a statement emailed to TIME

“My thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families… I have directed state police to make any and all necessary resources available to local law enforcement.” — Oregon governor John Kitzhaber, in a statement emailed to TIME

“The shots were really loud and really scary… It was echoing all through the mall, so nobody knew where it was coming from at first.” — Larisa Tereahova (CBS News)

“There were a huge amount of people running in different directions, and it was chaos for a lot of citizens.” — Clackamas County Sheriff Craig Roberts (KOIN News)

“I turned around and saw him. He was just moving around, shooting. People were jumping, crying. It was unreal.” – Courtney Olsen, mall worker (KGW News)

“There were five to seven gunshots, machine gunshots, right outside my store. And then we ended up later seeing a clip just on the ground.” — Jacob Rogers, Champs Sports employee (KOIN News)

“Me and the others raced to the back of the store and got our customers in the back room. Honestly, as I was shutting that gate I was waiting for that person to walk up the hallway and shoot me.” — Taylor Gibson, 20, Build-a-Bear employee (The Oregonian)

11 comments
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bocajmeyers
bocajmeyers

I realize this sounds rather rude and harsh but people must go on the defensive if these situations continue to occur. How many heavy objects does a mall hold? THROW THEM AT THE SHOOTER.  How many people were in the mall? 10,0000! No one man can take out 10,000 people. I hope if an active shooter situation ever occurs again that the people being made victims rush the shooter and stomp his head in! I realize this may offend some people but from a tactical standpoint 1 vs 10,000 is a joke.  People need to realize that together they are strong! These shooters typically get off on the sense of "power" their actions give them. I want the last thing a shooter  sees to be his powerless body ripped limb from limb by the 10,000 angry people he shot at.

JohnDahodi
JohnDahodi like.author.displayName 1 Like

Thanks God, he was a shooter or a gunman and not a terrorist, and more importantly he was not a Muslim but a white American otherwise the State and Federal government have arrested several of his family members, friends and associates around the globe and upgraded the security level spending millions of dollars. NOW, his family members, church members, teachers and friends will start describing how good he was in his life and what are the reasons he became a shooter. Soon, he will get 1st class mental checkup and help for his full recovery.War on terror is important but war on such home grown killers is more important too. Ban the assault weapons, consider all the criminals on same ground and punish them equally.

Sheepdog
Sheepdog

@JohnDahodi  Im sorry i made a mistake, *if firearms were illegal, he would STILL have one, but law abiding citizens that should have been carrying, would abide by the law and not carry. making firearms illegal will not get rid of them, it will only take them out of the hands of responsible gun owners, and IF the were to get completely rid of firearms, then he would have used, the Louisville slugger, kitchen knife, gone into the tool box and grabbed a screw driver, or worse case scenario constructed a fertilizer bomb.

JohnDahodi
JohnDahodi

@Sheepdog @JohnDahodi  

Free fire arms of America is not only causes deaths of innocents in America but it is being smuggled to our adjacent countries and many parts of the world causing thousands and thousands of deaths. If America stop selling fire arms and weapons of deaths including smart bombs, missiles, guns, gun boats and military planes to our friends and foes, the world will be more peaceful, purposeful and meaningful. The arms and defense lobbies are eager to encourage wars, which need to be stopped. I thought Obama will do it but he also playing under the iron fist of guns and arms lobbies.

Sheepdog
Sheepdog

@JohnDahodi @Sheepdog  Do you know why our forefathers made sure we have the second amendment in our country? Im not here to give you a history lesson so you should go school yourself  . As for the smuggling of arms into other countries, I suggest you look up operation "Fast and furious" maybe that will help you understand who is smuggling , and why they are being smuggled. So you think if America stops producing, and selling weapons the world will just be peaceful? yeah.... try telling that to the indigenous people of the middle east who get blown up on a daily basis by IED's planted by their own people. Guns are not the problem, sick people are the problem, guns are a tool, a tool in the right hands can be implemented as good, and in the wrong hands as bad, just like an ax. Look at Britain's crime rate, since they made firearms illegal almost every aspect of crime has increased. Our creator gives us our rights, not you, and not our  government, the right to bare arms was given to me at birth for the right of self preservation and to preserve the life of the ones unable to protect them selves, such as the elderly, or children. This notion that if you get rid of firearms the world will be a peaceful utopia is ridiculous. This is the real world, not some la la land that everything is fair, perfect, everyone loves everyone. There is sick, evil people in this world, and that will never go away even if there are no firearms. God did not make all men equal, some are physically and mentally more capable of doing harm to others, THANKFULLY we have firearms which level the playing field  now the mentally strong but physically weak young women can protect herself from evil that exists and will always exist. 

Sheepdog
Sheepdog

@JohnDahodi  What are you talking about? what would banning "assault weapons" do? do you know what an assault weapon is? well first they are illegal,  he had a semi auto AR-15.  secondly if all firearms were illegal, he would have just used a bomb, or a bat, or a knife, or VX gas. More people should own firearms and carry them, but not only carry them train with them so they can stop active shooters like this idiot. I'm glad he didn't run in there with a steak knife, everyone would be screaming for "knife control". obviously having this "assault weapon" did not do the damage that he wanted to do, I feel extremely sorry for the families of the victims, but at least he was an untrained idiot with an AR then a guy walking through the crowd randomly stabbing people. Luckily he started shooting making everyone run, instead of silently dropping people left and right with a bladed object, screw driver, letter opener, hammer, or even worse go to the local garden shop and get a ton of fertilizer and blow the entire mall up. killing a lot of people.. then what would happen? fertilizer control? Again, this is a tragedy getting twisted into a positive for a political agenda. My thoughts are with the victims families and friends... I am truly sorry you are having to go through this. 

SmittyJohnson
SmittyJohnson like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 2 Like

@JohnDahodi 

Wow...thank God you read the whole article and know exactly what you are talking about...oh wait. Except that you completely missed the part where he took his own life. Maybe you should get your prescription checked or Hooked On Phonics or something before spouting your idiocy.