In a stunning end to the holiday season for many Christmas shoppers, a masked gunman, short, with dark hair and dressed in camouflage, walked into a crowded mall in Portland, Oregon, late this Tuesday afternoon, announced, “I am the shooter,” and opened fire, causing major panic and resulting in the deaths of three people, including the gunman. [source: Huffington Post]
Kira Rowland told KGW-TV that she was shopping at Macy’s with her infant son when the shots started.
“All of a sudden you hear two shots, which sounded like balloons popping,” Rowland told the station. “Everybody got on the ground. I grabbed the baby from the stroller and got on the ground.”
Rowland said she heard people screaming and crying.
“I put the baby back in the stroller and ran like hell,” Rowland said. “It was awful. It was shots after shots after shots like a massacre.
“It was just awful.”
NBCNews.com reports that the shooter, currently unidentified, fired into a crowded food court of holiday shoppers:
The shooting, which occurred around 3:20 p.m., during the busy holiday shopping season caused panic in the mall. The shooting took place in the food court near the Macy’s at Clackamas Town Center.
A woman who answered the phone at Chipotle in the mall told NBC News that someone ran in and yelled, “It’s a shooting, it’s a shooting.”
The police have confirmed that there was only one shooter. Another person was wounded and s currently hospitalized; condition unknown. From the Huffington Post:
Clackamas County sheriff’s Lt. James Rhodes says the gunman fatally shot two people, and another person was wounded, in the Tuesday afternoon shooting at the Clackamas Town Center.
Rhodes says the gunman is also dead but he would not say how he died.
According to witnesses at the scene, people scattered as the shooting erupted, with many hiding in places throughout the mall. Into the evening on Tuesday, the police were walking from store to store to find the terrified shoppers and lead them safely outside.
More details will come, more debates about gun control will rage, and the sorrow of the families involved will be felt…and gun deaths will continue to be in the news yet another day…