LINKEDINCOMMENTMORE

PORTLAND -- Ayear after a gunman terrified shoppers in the Clackamas Town Center, firing wildly and killing two people, then himself, people are honoring the victims in many ways.

Candles will be lit at the mall Wednesday as shoppers and employees think back on the horrible rampage that left three people dead, but also brought out thousands of acts of kindness when strangers helped strangers escape.

More:Vigil for anniversary of Clackamas mall shooting

Shoppers Steven Forsyth and Cindy Yuille were killed in the shooting and a 15-year-old girl was seriously wounded.

Steven Mathew Forsyth, 45, of West Linn, was a father of two, a well-known youth sports coach and an entrepreneur. Friends described him as a passionate man who touched the lives of countless people.

Cindy Ann Yuille, 54, of Northeast Portland, was married with a daughter and worked as a hospice nurse for Kaiser Permanente. Family members said she helped people find peace toward the end of their lives, but never got to say goodbye herself.

The suspect was later identified as Jacob Tyler Roberts, 22, of Southeast Portland. Investigators said he went into the mall armed with a stolen AR-15 semi-automatic rifle and several loaded magazines with the intent to shoot anyone in his line of sight, according to Clackamas County Sheriff Craig Roberts.

Video:Map of shooter's route

As investigators tried to determine a motive in the shooting, friends of the suspect told KGW he had recently shared emotional goodbyes with them, saying he was moving to Hawaii. They also said some of his recent behavior seemed erratic, like when he abruptly quit the job he loved at Big Bertha sandwich shop.

Roberts was raised by his aunt, Tami, because his mother died when he was two years old. Tami said Jacob's life began to spiral downward after he had to give up his dream to become a Marine due to a broken foot.

Clackamas gunman's aunt: Jacob Roberts lost his way

Around 10,000 people were inside the mall at the time of the shooting. Many were doing their holiday shopping, including Forsyth and Yuille who inadvertently ended up in Roberts' line of fire and were killed.

A 15-year-old girl was also struck by gunfire. Kristina Shevchenko, of Portland, suffered injuries to her right lung and liver, but survived. Weeks later, Shevchenko said she had found a way in her heart to forgive Roberts. Her parents said there was an angel on Kristina's shoulder.

There were also countless heroes. Employees helped shoppers escape out private doorways or hide behind locked doors.

Related: Clackamas Town Center employees keep customers safe

After finding their way outside, many witnesses gathered in the mall parking lot, describing the chaos that had unraveled inside the huge mall and all the people who came forward to help them escape.

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.

Watch: Viewer video of shoppers fleeing Clackamas Town Center

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 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.

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.

Benjamin Christensen, who worked 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.

More: Witnesses describe terror of Clackamas shooting

The sheriff later said that if it weren't for the quick action of emergency responders, mall employees and shoppers, the tragedy could have been far worse.

The shooting took place at about 3:30 p.m. on December 11, 2012, at the Southeast Portland area mall. Local, state and federal agents swarmed and shut down the Clackamas Town Center, searching and evacuating any remaining employees and shoppers. No law enforcement officers fired any shots.

Watch:Police escort shoppers inside Clackamas Town Center

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, sheriff Roberts said.

LINKEDINCOMMENTMORE
Read or Share this story: http://www.nwcn.com/story/news/2014/07/31/12960464/