A gunman killed himself after opening fire in a suburban Portland shopping mall Tuesday, killing two people and wounding another as people were doing their Christmas shopping, authorities said.
Witnesses described a scene of chaos and disbelief as a gunman wearing some sort of camouflage outfit and a white mask shot an initial burst of fire and then more rounds at Clackamas Town Centre. Shoppers tried to find safe areas as teams of police officers began entering the mall to find the shooter.
Clackamas County sheriff’s Lt. James Rhodes said later that the gunman was dead, but he wouldn’t provide any details about him.
Authorities were going store-to-store to secure the scene and to escort hiding shoppers outside, but Lt. Rhodes said there was no indication that there was more than one shooter.
Austin Patty, 20, who works at Macy’s, said he saw a man in a white mask carrying a rifle and wearing a bulletproof vest.
A series of rapid-fire shots in short succession followed. Mr. Patty said he ducked to the ground, then ran.
Shaun Wik, 20, from Fairview, said he was Christmas shopping with his girlfriend and opened a fortune cookie at the food court. Inside was written “live for today, remember yesterday, think of tomorrow.”
As he read it, he heard three shots. He heard a man he believes was the gunman shout, “Get down!” but Mr. Wik and his girlfriend ran. He heard seven or eight more shots. He didn’t turn around.
“If I had looked back, I might not be standing here,” Mr. Wik said. “I might have been one of the ones who got hit.”
Kira Rowland told KGW-TV that she was shopping at the Macy’s department store with her infant son when the shots started.
“All of a sudden you hear two shots, which sounded like balloons popping,” Ms. Rowland told the station. “Everybody got on the ground. I grabbed the baby from the stroller and got on the ground.”
Ms. Rowland said she heard people screaming and crying.
“I put the baby back in the stroller and ran like hell,” Ms. Rowland said. “It was awful. It was shots after shots after shots like a massacre.
“It was just awful.”
“I heard people running and screaming and saying ‘Get out, there’s somebody shooting,’” she told AP. “It was a scene of chaos.”
She said hundreds of shoppers and mall employees started running, and she and dozens of other people were trying to escape through an exit in the department store.
Tiffany Turgetto and her husband of Gladstone had exited Macy’s through the first floor when they heard the gunshots coming from the second floor of the mall.
“People in front of us people were dropping, finding covering,” she told AP. “People were yelling, screaming and gasping, yelling to get out. The lady next to us, she threw a chair and started running. We couldn’t run because the chair was there.”
Ms. Turgetto and her husband and other people were able to quickly leave through a Barnes & Noble bookstore before the police arrived and locked down the mall.
“I had left my phone at home. I was telling people to call 911. Surprisingly, people are around me, no one was calling 911. I think people were in shock.”