Authorities are trying to piece together why an unidentified gunman chose yesterday afternoon to enter a Portland Oregon shopping mall with the explicit purpose of wreaking carnage.
To date it is understood the man took two innocent lives as well as his own whilst injuring scores of others. It had been thought at one point the man may have been acting with the aid of other accomplices but a lockdown of the town and a thorough search has led authorities believing the gunman carried out his carnage singlehandedly.
The mayhem all began yesterday afternoon circa 3.30pm at Clackamas Town Center when calls were placed that a gunman brandishing an AR-15 assault rifle and wearing a hockey mask as well as body armor began opening fire near a mall food court.
Offered one witness via the UK’s dailymail, Austin Patty: ‘He said ‘I am the shooter,’ before firing several shots paced seconds apart.’
According to Patty who ducked for cover the man donned a white mask carrying a rifle as well as wearing a bulletproof vest which authorities believe suggest the gunman was ready for a protracted shoot out. The pacing of the shooting and the anonymous disposition of the shooter has also led authorities to infer that the gunman may have had little intention of backing down and must have calculated the murdering spree with the express knowledge that he was there to cause havoc.
Upon beginning his assault, witnesses are said to have heard a gaggle of up to 60 initial shots run from the the gunman’s rifle, with three people immediately struck, two fatally. It is not yet known the condition of the third individual. It is understood the gunman once again opened fire further injuring up to half a dozen individuals.
Offered shopper Evan Walters who scurried for cover as hordes of shoppers ran for their lives via local media outlet KATU: ‘It was kind of surreal because we hear pops and loud noises all the time because we’re right here by the food court, but it’s never been anything like that. It was very definite gun shots. I think most all of us knew it was gunshots. There really was no rhyme or reason to them. There were many in a row.’
Which begs the question was there any rhyme or reason to the man’s deadly assault? Was he on a revenge shoot out, had he been seeking to target anyone in particularly or was this all indiscriminate shooting? Which augers another question, why today, what had finally snapped in the man’s head that he needed to go out there and inflict such horrific carnage? And then even more strangely if he had come dressed for battle why did he in the end choose to fatally shoot himself?
Or could one even wonder perversely that the man hadn’t necessarily come to kill an entire town but simply to take a whole community and country hostage with his self capitulation, ensuring himself finally a melodramatic exit from a life that increasingly as for many Americans has begun to lose value or meaning and increasingly lead to some choosing a guns blazing glory self demise?
Points out the nytimes: There have been a number of shootings in public places across the country in recent months. In October, a gunman opened fire at a day spa in a Milwaukee suburb, killing three women, including his ex-wife, before killing himself. In August, in another Milwaukee suburb, a self-proclaimed white supremacist killed six people at a Sikh temple before being killed by the police. Two weeks before that, a gunman killed 12 people and wounded 60 in an attack on a movie theater in Aurora, Colo.
By 5pm authorities had the mall in complete lockdown with surrounding freeways closed with SWAT teams now desperately hunting for the man, store by store, with the view that there may have been other accomplices .
What’s worth noting is that the mall at the time had up to 10 000 visitors and according to the denverpost is one of Portland’s busiest. Reiterates the denverpost: It’s in a middle-class area that has become popular with families as falling real estate prices have put its homes just a few miles from downtown Portland within financial reach.
The mall has about 185 stores and a 20-screen movie theater among anchor tenants that also include Nordstrom and J.C. Penney.
Information which would suggest that the gunman aimed to cause as much havoc and commotion in a densely populated area. What though is interesting to note is how in the end the gunman only killed two individuals and had ample opportunity to kill scores more which may suggest he may have specific targets in mind. Or was it simply the intensity of the moment that caused him not to be able to take more lives than he had originally planned?
According to oregonlive by 6:34 p.m.: Officials said the armed man who was the shooter died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound. He said that no law enforcement officers discharged their weapons.
Is that to say the man was now satisfied with the carnage he inflicted, that he ‘got’ his target or did he suddenly realize with the mounting police presence he had now had no way out? Or perversely was he just satisfied with the attention and horrific legacy he had by now been able to garner for himself?
In the wake of the shooting, Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber released the following statement: ‘My thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families. I appreciate the work of the first responders and their quick reaction to this tragic shooting. Oregon State Police Superintendent Rich Evans is on the scene.
‘I have directed State Police to make any and all necessary resources available to local law enforcement.’
At present authorities have not offered any motive or indicated that the gunman may have announced his intentions.