PORTLAND -- The suspect in a shooting at Clackamas Town Center that left three people dead Tuesday afternoon was identified by police Wednesday as 22-year-old Jacob Tyler Roberts, of Southeast Portland.
At a press conference Wednesday morning, Clackamas County Sheriff Craig Roberts announced that Jacob Roberts was carrying a stolen AR-15 semi-automatic rifle and wearing a load-bearing vest. He died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
The mall was to be closed again Thursday.
Sheriff Roberts said the shooter acted alone and went into the mall with the intent to shoot "anyone in his line of sight, on a mission set forth to take the lives of people in that mall."
He said early reports that the shooter's rifle jammed were accurate, but that he was able to fix it and began shooting again. Roberts was carrying several loaded magazines at the time.
Sheriff Roberts identified the deceased victims as 45-year-old Steven Mathew Forsyth of West Linn and 54-year-old Cindy Ann Yuille of Northeast Portland.
He said if it weren't for the quick action of the emergency responders and mall employees and shoppers, the tragedy could have been far worse.
"There were 10,000 people in the mall at the time," he said. "There are a number of heroes that took the time to help a lot of people get out. I want to thank the whole community."
She was struck by several bullets and suffered injuries to her right lung and liver, according to OHSU trauma surgeon Dr. Laszlo Kiraly, M.D. He said she had undergone surgery and was in stable condition Wednesday in the Intensive Care Unit. He added that she was awake and talking to her family
Kiraly said doctors were optimistic that she would recover, but had to remain cautious because she suffered serious wounds from a high-velocity assault weapon. He said there was still the possibility of complications arising from the wounds.
Clackamas Town Center remained closed through Thursday. Updates on reopening will be provided at the shopping center's website, according to general manager Dennis Curtis. He said the website will also provide information for people who left their belongings behind at the mall Tuesday. Click here for updates.
10,000 at Mall Tuesday
A witness told KGW that up to 60 shots were fired by a man wearing a white mask and body armor, armed with a large assault-type rifle. The shooting took place at about 3:30 p.m. at the Southeast Portland area mall. Local, state and federal agents swarmed and shut down the mall, searching and evacuating any remaining employees or shoppers.
Lt. James Rhodes of the Clackamas County Sheriff's Office announced at a news conference just before 5 p.m. that the suspect had been "neutralized." Later police said the shooter was dead from a self-inflicted wound but did not identify him or the weapon used. No law enforcement officers fired any shots in the mall.
Sheriff Craig Roberts said their thoughts and prayers went out to the victims and their families. “For all of us, the mall is supposed to be a place we can all take our families, feel comfortable, this is the holidays … these things are never supposed to happen. We have a young lady at the hospital fighting for her life right now,” Roberts said.
Police agencies were able to “basically hunt down, find this guy,” in record time among an estimated 10,000 shoppers in the mall at the time, he added.
Several witnesses reported hearing the suspect announce "I am the shooter," before he began firing.
“All of a sudden, I just heard a series of gunshots… boom, boom, boom, boom, boom… whatever the shooter was shooting at, they continued to shoot,” said shopper Bill Hoff.
”I was sitting there by the door watching what was going on and then some guy just ran by in a white mask and an assault rifle and then I look out because I hear a few shots and he’s … and he’s sitting there and he’s pointing the gun at some people so we ran to the fitting room, grabbed some people then ran out to the back exit to get out of there," Macy's employee Mariah Saldana said.
“It was just shot after shot after shot. It was terrible. It was like a massacre,” witness Kira Rowland said.
Witnesses said the suspect fired several times until the rifle jammed and he the dropped a magazine onto the floor, then ran into the Macy's store.
Any witnesses were asked to contact police at (503) 655-8211.
KGW reporter Abbey Gibb said people were crying and shaking as they came out of the mall.
Dax McMillan, a former police officer, said a friend of his was right next to one of the victims. He said she told him that the gunman aimed at her but his gun jammed and she ran.
Witness Benjamin Christensen, who works in the mall, said he was also there when the shooting began. He heard one shot, then six or seven more. He then began helping to evacuate others out of the rear exits.
“There were just cops everywhere and sirens and ambulances coming in. I hope everyone is okay,” said a shopper named Isabel, who fled after the shooting. “It’s so close to a holiday. It’s terrible.”
Another witness told KGW she heard several gunshots near Nordstrom, before people ran for cover.
Reporter Pat Dooris said a witness told him security forces helped shoppers get down to the ground and out of site after the shots were fired.
Police said the mall would remain closed during the investigation.