December 11, 2012 at 4:17 PM
UPDATE: 2 killed, 1 wounded, shooter dead at Portland mall
At least two people were killed and one other wounded at a Portland-area mall by a man armed with a semiautomatic rifle, according to The Oregonian.
During a briefing at 5:35 p.m., Clackamas County sheriff’s Sgt. James Rhodes said the shooter at Clackamas Town Center was “deceased.” It was later confirmed that the man died of a self-inflicted gun-shot wound.
Rhodes said he could not release the age or name of the shooter, or what he was wearing. He also had no motive for the shooting.
Rhodes said there are also two others confirmed dead and one wounded.
He said deputies and police are now conducting a search of the mall to determine whether any shoppers or employees are still hiding inside the mall, unaware that the gunman is dead.
Emergency dispatchers received reports that a shooting had occurred near a Macy’s store at the mall and that a man was seen with an AR-15 rifle near the mall’s food court around 3:30 p.m. The man was also reportedly wearing a hockey mask and body armor.
John Canzano, sports columnist for The Oregonian, reported that as many as 60 shots were fired while he was shopping at the mall.
One store employee told KATU-TV that he saw two people get shot. “I had to bring sheets out of our back room for them,” he said.
Another employee of a store at the mall told the TV station that she saw a man in a mall kiosk get shot.
Pedro Garcia, 24, of Happy Valley, told The Oregonian he was walking to Panera Bread Co. to get some sandwiches, “like any other day.’’ He was just outside the mall when he said he heard at least six shots.
“But what caught my attention, I could smell the gunpowder,’’ Garcia said. “That’s what pretty much made me run. The gunpowder is what made me react.’’
Soon, several police cars raced up to the mall doors. An officer holding a rifle yelled at him and others to “run, run, run!’’ A staff worker at Panera Bread Co. was standing by the front door, not letting people in or out, Garcia said.
Isabel Valentine, 20, of West Linn, said she and three other customers were led by three employees of The Body Shop out of the mall through a fire escape.
“The scene outside as I was leaving was just chaos,” she told The Oregonian. ”Police were everywhere, people were crying and screaming, and we still don’t know exactly why this all happened.”
Police blocked off entrances to the mall and launched a store-by-store search for the gunman before confirming he was dead.
Hundreds of people were evacuated from the mall; others hid in stores.
Taylor Gibson, 20, an employee at Build-A-Bear workshop on the mall’s lower level near Macy’s, said she was walking toward the front of her children’s store close to 4 p.m. when she heard a bang. At first, she thought, something fell. But as more and more shots came, “something clicked,” she said.
“Me and the others raced to the back of the store and got our customers in the back room,” she told The Oregonian.
Then, Gibson had to go back to the front of her store to close its main gate.
“That gate takes 30 to 45 seconds to close,” she said. “Honestly, as I was shutting that gate I was waiting for that person to walk up the hallway and shoot me.”
Gibson and three other employees kept 17 customers, including four children, busy in the back room by eating snacks and building bears.
We’ll update this post as soon as we have more information.
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The Today File is a general news blog featuring real-time coverage of Seattle and the Northwest. It is reported by the news staff of The Seattle Times and edited by Assistant Metro Editor Nick Provenza.
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