The suspected gunman in the Indiana mall mass shooting carried two rifles, a pistol and more than 100 rounds of ammo, authorities said Monday, and the good Samaritan who fatally shot him is credited with saving “countless lives.”
Three people were killed at the Greenwood Park Mall outside of Indianapolis on Sunday. Two others were injured and the gunman is also dead.
The suspected shooter was identified by officials as Jonathan Douglas Sapirman, 20, of Greenwood. Sapirman entered the Greenwood Park Mall and went into a restroom near the food court about 4:54 pm on Sunday, Greenwood Police Chief Jim Ison said Monday.
Sapirman stayed in the bathroom for 62 minutes, then exited and began firing near and into the mall’s food court with a 6 Saur rifle, killing three people.
The victims were identified as husband and wife Pedro Pineda, 56, and Rosa Mirian Rivera de Pineda, 37, both of Indianapolis; and Victor Gomez, 30, of Indianapolis.
Elisjsha Dicken, 22, of Seymour, Indiana, was at the mall shopping with his girlfriend, saw the shooter, and within minutes of Sapirman first opening fire, returned fire with a handgun and killed Sapirman, Ison said.
“His actions were nothing short of heroic,” Ison said. “He engaged the gunman from quite a distance with a handgun, was very proficient in that, very tactically sound. And as he moved to close in on the suspect, he was also motioning for people to exit behind him.”
Altogether, investigators recovered 24 rifle rounds fired by Sapirman and 10 rounds shot by Dicken, Ison said.
Although Sapirman had other weapons, he only managed to fire from one rifle, Ison said. Authorities have not pieced together a motive and Sapirman had no criminal record as an adult. He only had minor interactions with law enforcement as a juvenile for a fight at school and running away from home, Ison said.
“There were no indicators he was violent or unstable,” he said.
A second rifle was found by investigators in a bathroom, Ison said. The suspect’s cellphone was discovered in a toilet in a bathroom stall, he said.
Sapirman had “on his person” multiple magazines and more than 100 rounds of ammunition along with a handgun, Ison said.
Sapirman lived on his own, Ison said, and investigators were checking on reports he was facing eviction. Sapirman had resigned from a warehouse job in May, Ison said.
In addition to those killed, a 22-year-old woman sustained a “leg wound” and is recovering, Ison said, and a 12-year-old girl sustained a minor injury when a bullet ricocheted and hit her.
Greenwood Mayor Mark W. Myers said Monday, “I grieve for these senseless killings. And I ache for the scars that are left behind on the victims and on our community.”
Myers also said of Dicken, “This young man, Greenwood’s good Samaritan, acted within seconds, stopping the shooter and saving countless lives.”
Ty Straub, 35, of Indianapolis, was at the mall Sunday, about 300 feet away from the food court, when he started to hear screaming and saw a stampede of people running over each other.
“I saw people pushing past each other and running as fast as they could. So as soon as I saw that, I didn’t waste any time. I took off running,” he told NBC News.
In the chaos he heard someone say, “shooter, shooter,” but didn’t hear any shots himself.
“I basically ran like the wind. I told everybody around me with the little bit of breath that I had, ‘They said there’s a shooter, there’s a shooter. Go, go go,’” he recalled.
Straub said, “I’ve never been that scared in my life.”
He successfully got back to his car and police and ambulances arrived minutes later.
“Something you never think you would actually witness, seems like it’s crazy, as the times are getting that we should all kind of have our head on a swivel and be ready for whatever,” Straub said.
The motive and circumstances of the shooting are under investigation, Ison said.
Officers, including members of the Indianapolis department’s SWAT team, went through the mall Sunday night to ensure no one injured was hiding or otherwise in need of help, an officer with the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department said.
A backpack that police believed was left by the gunman in a bathroom turned out not to be a threat, he said.
Greenwood Park Mall condemned the shooting Monday saying, “Violence has no place in this or any other community.”
“We grieved for the victims of yesterday’s horrific tragedy in Greenwood,” the statement said. “We are grateful for the strong response of the first responders, including the heroic actions of the Good Samaritan who stopped the suspect.”
The mall was closed on Monday.
Mike Pence, who served as Indiana’s governor from 2013 to 2017 and vice president under Donald Trump, said Monday Morning. “Our prayers are with the fallen and injured.” He praised the citizen who stopped the shooter as a “Hoosier Hero.”
Three hours after the Greenwood Park Mall shooting, another person was killed and three were wounded when a gunfire erupted at Don Challis Park, just 7 miles south in another Indianapolis suburb, Beech Grove.
“Our Beech Grove EMS, which I think is the best, believe it or not, was not available for this incident because our ambulances were down helping people at the Greenwood Mall,” Mayor Dennis Buckley told reporters on Monday. “We don’t pick and choose, we help.”
Beech Grove authorities thanked first responders from other neighboring communities for filling in the gap on Sunday night.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism