A masked gunman opened fire Tuesday afternoon in a mall in suburban Portland, Oregon, killing three people, including himself, and critically wounding another.
According to authorities, the gunman entered the Clackamas Town Center through a Macy’s store entrance around 3:30 p.m. local time. He was wearing a white hockey mask and bulletproof vest and immediately ran to the upper level of Macy’s, near the food court, where he began firing rounds at holiday shoppers.
To witnesses, the shooter appeared to be on a mission, as he determinedly made his way towards the opposite end of the mall while unleashing a rain of bullets.
Amber Tate said she encountered the man in the parking lot just prior to the rampage. He jogged past her, wearing a mask and carrying a machine gun, and even glanced at Tate before stepping into the mall to begin his attack.
“He looked like a teenager wearing a gun, like a bullet-proof vest and he had a machine, like an assault rifle and a white mask and he looked at me,” she said.
Panic ensued once shoppers heard the gunfire, and many fled to the parking lot while others hid inside the mall — ducking behind counters, in dressing rooms, and huddling in back rooms.
Yousef Ibrahim, 26, was inside Macy’s when he heard the shots and instantly ran for his life.
“As soon as I heard the gunfire, I turned and started running,” Ibrahim told The Times. “Some people saw me running and just started running. I started running. … Panic, pandemonium, people running; I ran for my life. Literally, my wallet fell out. Thank God I have my phone on me.”*
After hearing machine gun fire, a store clerk, Jacob Rogers, made the swift decision to move all shoppers and employees to a back room.
“I was helping a customer in the middle of the store, her and her granddaughter, and while we were looking at sweatshirts we heard five to seven shots from a machine gun fire just outside my store,” Rogers said. “We moved everyone into the back room where there’s no access to outside but where there’s a camera so we can monitor what’s going on out front.”**
9-1-1 received a flurry of calls during the terror, and police deputies were rapidly dispatched to the scene where they divided into small teams to track down the shooter.
“I’m really proud of all the different agencies that came together to really step the line,” Clackamas County Sherriff Craig Roberts said in a news conference. Four SWAT teams were quickly deployed to “basically hunt down this guy in the mall.”
Currently, officials have not released the names of the victims who were killed or the shooter; although, they have confirmed he was an adult male. The surviving victim, Kristina Shevchenko, was shot at least once in the chest and is being treated in an Oregon hospital where she is in “serious” condition.