The rifle jammed and mall employees had been trained for the possibility of a mass shooting, otherwise the death toll could have been worse, they said.
Jacob Tyler Roberts, 22, had armed himself with an AR-15 semiautomatic rifle and had several fully loaded magazines when he walked into an Oregon mall on Tuesday afternoon and started firing at random, said Clackamas County Sheriff Craig Roberts.
The sheriff said the rifle jammed during the attack, but he managed to get it working again.
The gunman then fled into a back hallway, down stairs and into a corner, where police found him dead from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot.
The sheriff said no motive is known.
Employees at the mall had been trained to run and hide, lock down and evacuate in such an incident. And in the wake of previous mass shootings in the U.S., the first police officers on the scene were trained to form teams and go inside instead of waiting for special teams.
“This could have been much, much worse,” Roberts said.
Two people — Cindy Yuille, 54, and Steven Mathew Forsyth, 45, were killed. Another, Kristina Shevchenko, 15, was wounded and listed in serious condition on Wednesday.
The shooter did not have a criminal record.
The shooting started shortly after Jacob Roberts, wearing a white mask, carrying a rifle and wearing a vest said, “I am the shooter,” said witness Austin Patty, 20, who works at a mall department store.
The mall Santa, Brance Wilson, said he heard gunshots and dove for the floor. By the time he looked up, seconds later, everyone around him had cleared out. Parents with children joined other shoppers rushing to stores’ backrooms.
“Santa will be back,” Wilson said. “It’s not going to keep Santa away from the mall.”
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