- (Photo: REUTERS/KATU-TV/Handout)
A gunman in Portland, Ore., killed three people, including himself, inside a crowded Clackamas Town Center mall on Tuesday, with a third victim listed in serious condition.
The man was wearing a white hockey mask, black clothing and a bullet proof vest when he stormed through a Macy's store and opened fire seemingly at random targets at the food court area.
"My friend's sister got shot," Nadia Telguz, identified as a friend of the injured victim, told KATU. "She's on her way to (Oregon Health and Science University hospital). They're saying she got shot in her side and so it's not life-threatening, so she'll be OK."
The victims and the shooter have not yet been identified, although witnesses have said that the attacker appeared to be a teenager and was armed with a black, semi-automatic rifle. More than 10,000 shoppers were at the mall during that day. When SWAT teams arrived at the scene of the shooting, they found the shooter dead and said it was an apparent suicide.
"I can confirm the shooter is dead of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound," Clackamas County Sheriff's Department Lt. James Rhodes said. "By all accounts there were no rounds fired by law enforcement today in the mall."
Clackamas County Sheriff Craig Roberts commented: "For all of us, the mall is supposed to be a place where we can take our families, especially during the holiday season. Things like this are not supposed to happen."
Roberts revealed that two emergency room nurses and one physician happened to be at the mall when the incident occurred, and provided medical assistance to the wounded.
"There were a huge amount of people running in different directions, and it was chaos for a lot of citizens, but true heroes were stepping up in this time of high stress," Roberts said. "E.R. nurses on the scene were providing medical care to those injured, a physician on the scene was helping provide care to the wounded."
Speaking to CNN, a witness described how she rushed to help a woman who was lying on the ground inside the mall.
"She had apparently been shot in the chest, and I couldn't get her turned over to help her," Antonio Charro said. "There was no one around. She wasn't breathing."
A man wearing a Santa Clause costume taking photos with kids said that he was close to the scene of the incident when the gunman opened fire.
"I heard two shots, then 15 or 16 more shots," the man said. "I hit the floor."
"I thought I was going to die," added David Moran, an employee at the mall. "The gunshots were so loud, it was very scary. ... Kids were crying. Parents were crying, too."
David Keating, vice president of corporate communications for General Growth Properties, said that people should contact the sheriff's office if they have more questions about the shooting.
"Our hearts and prayers are with everyone who was in the mall at the time of this incident," Keating said. "Our priority is always for their safety and well-being."