Posted in Regional, Posted: Tue, December 11 2012 at 9:46 PM, Updated: Tue, December 11 2012 at 10:14 PM
A gunman opened fire inside a shopping mall outside Portland, Oregon, killing two people and wounding a third before turning the gun on himself.
A day of holiday shopping turned into a horrific afternoon of terror when a gunman opened fire inside a crowded suburban Portland mall.
Lt. James Rhodes with the Clackamas County Sheriff's Department said "We started receiving calls at 330pm, multiple 911 calls. we responded quickly."
Several store employees locked themselves in break rooms and bathrooms until police could arrive. Sgt. Adam Phillips with the Clackamas County Sheriff's Department said "Many people locked in place, many people ran, those are the two appropriate things to do in these circumstances."
Shaken family members waited anxiously for news as police worked to secure the mall and search for victims. Sheri Everest, whose daughter survived, said "I just want to hug her I just want her out."
Eyewitnesses, like Cindy Lou Johnston, a mall employee, describe a chaotic scene: "I heard several shots and saw a lot of people running so I just went to the doors and held them open because people were trampling each other trying to get out."
Another witness said "People started hiding behind counters and eventually everyone went to the middle of Sears and on top of the escalator and away from all of the entrances."
Police say the suspect, an adult male, took his own life inside the mall and that no shots were fired by law enforcement.
Witnesses say the gunman was carrying a rifle, wearing camouflage, a bulletproof vest and a mask.
Now as police work to secure the crime scene the Portland community is left to grieve for the loss of life that took place inside this shopping mall.