Skip to main content

Details, but no answers, in Oregon mall shooting

By Mariano Castillo and Holly Yan, CNN
updated 10:04 PM EST, Thu December 13, 2012
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: "Average talent, average grades," says school spokesman
  • Officials identify the shooter as Jacob Tyler Roberts, 22
  • A mall employee heard the suspect announce he was the gunman
  • "I can't believe he did this," a friend of the shooter says

Follow continuing local coverage on CNN affiliates KPTV, KATU, KGW and KOIN. See photos from the scene

(CNN) -- The gunman shot three people on the second floor of an Oregon mall, then ran.

Shoppers hid behind racks as the man, wearing a vest and a mask, ran down a corridor and to a back hallway that led downstairs.

By then, he likely heard the sirens as dozens of police vehicles converged on the Clackamas Town Center in Happy Valley.

He then took his own life.

As details of Tuesday's mall shooting emerged, the question of motive remained unanswered.

Witness: She was not breathing
Flowers and candles sit outside the Clackamas Town Center mall in Clackamas, Oregon, on Thursday, December 13. The Clackamas County Sheriff's Office identified Jacob Tyler Roberts, 22, as the gunman who entered the mall with a AR-15 semiautomatic assault rifle, killing two and wounding another before taking his own life. Flowers and candles sit outside the Clackamas Town Center mall in Clackamas, Oregon, on Thursday, December 13. The Clackamas County Sheriff's Office identified Jacob Tyler Roberts, 22, as the gunman who entered the mall with a AR-15 semiautomatic assault rifle, killing two and wounding another before taking his own life.
Gunman opens fire in Oregon mall
HIDE CAPTION
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
>
>>
Gunman opens fire in Oregon mall Gunman opens fire in Oregon mall
'Not a good idea to arm more people'
Aleshire: 'Knew him as a kind person'

At a news conference on Wednesday, investigators identified Jacob Tyler Roberts, 22, as the lone suspect in the shootings -- two of which proved fatal -- at the suburban Portland mall.

Sheriff's investigators said there was no apparent connection between Roberts and any of his victims.

The fatalities were identified as Cindy Ann Yuille, 54, and Steven Mathew Forsyth, 45.

Oregon mall shooting victims had 'zest for life'

The incident unfolded during the afternoon as the gunman moved quickly through the Macy's at the mall and toward the food court on the second floor, where he opened fire, the sheriff's office said.

The arrival of police within a minute of receiving the first calls of the shooting may have influenced the gunman's ultimate course of action, Sheriff Craig Roberts said.

The gunman was wearing a load-bearing vest -- a military-style garment designed to carry heavy equipment, which some witnesses confused with a bulletproof vest -- and was carrying a semi-automatic rifle.

At one point, the rifle jammed but started working again, the sheriff said.

Kristina Shevchenko, 15, was taken to the Oregon Health & Science University Hospital, where she was in serious, stable condition on Wednesday with a bullet wound to her chest, her surgeon told reporters.

Shevchenko, who suffered a collapsed right lung and injuries to her liver, underwent an hourlong operation Tuesday night to remove bullet fragments and was in the hospital's intensive care unit, Dr. Laszlo Kiraly said.

He said he was optimistic that she would recover fully but added that she was in shock and at risk for complications, including infection. "She's a very brave young woman," he said, adding that she was awake and talking to her family.

Two shot dead inside Oregon mall
People leave Oregon mall with arms up
Woman: Thought shooter was in flash mob
Shooting inside Oregon shopping mall

Further surgeries will focus on closing her wounds "and getting her to heal properly," he said. "I would anticipate that she would be with us for about a week or so."

Friends of the gunman said they were shocked when they heard who the shooter was.

"This is more than a tragic event, and my heart goes out to everyone affected by it, but I also feel as if the side of Jake that I remember needs to be shared," said Erin Philpot, a friend of the shooter, in an e-mail to CNN.

"He was a very loved individual that always seemed as if he had great intentions and a heart of gold. I know that must be hard for people to see/think/understand, but It's the truth. I don't know what caused him to do such a horrendous, terrible thing, but I do hope that somehow answers will be available to us all."

Philpot, who attended middle school and high school with Roberts, said he had recently broken up with a girlfriend and was considering moving to Hawaii. "I just had drinks with him in November, and he had just moved into a new place and was totally stoked about it," she said. "I can't believe he did this."

Jordan Salazar, who attended Milwaukie High School in the Portland area with Roberts, said in an e-mail, "He was a really nice guy, and it's completely shocking he did this."

She added, "He was a popular guy in high school and had a lot of friends," she said. "I was pretty much in shock with all of this."

Oregon mall gunman: 'I have lived one crazy life so far'

Roberts attended Milwaukie High School for three years but did not graduate, said Joe Krumm, the director of community relations for North Clackamas County School District. "Average talent, average grades," Krumm said about Roberts, who was in a mainstream program and had no record of discipline issues or extracurricular activities.

Roberts then transferred to another district and graduated in 2008 from Oregon City High School, the school said in a statement on its website that also talked about the killings.

"This news is very shocking to those who knew Jacob while at OCHS," the statement said. "He was known as a soft-spoken and polite young man who was often eager to be helpful. The motive for such a horrific act is likely to remain a mystery to us all."

The families of the victims who died -- Yuille and Forsyth -- provided brief comments through authorities but asked for privacy as they mourn.

Yuille was remembered as "everybody's friend" who put others first.

Forsyth had two children, a great sense of humor and a zest for life, his family said.

During the shooting, mall patrons said they had no clue where the gunman would fire next.

Entire swaths of Clackamas Town Center became silent except for the rifle blasts and screams. Even the mall's Santa dropped to the ground.

"I thought I was going to die," mall employee David Moran said. "The gunshots were so loud, it was very scary. ... Kids were crying. Parents were crying, too."

Kira Rowland was holding her 6-month-old baby in Macy's when the shots rang out.

"I threw my baby into the stroller and just started running, because everybody was screaming and everybody just started to run," she said.

Inside Clackamas Town Center

The gunman wore a hockey mask and jogged through Macy's wielding a rifle, a woman told CNN affiliate KOIN.

As some panicked customers bolted for the exits, others ducked under store counters or hid behind clothing racks.

"I am the shooter," he said as he ran through Macy's, said witness and store employee Austin Patty.

As the shooting started, Patty ran from the store, warning all in earshot that a shooter was loose and ordering them out of the store.

The sheriff's office said a rifle and a mask were recovered from the scene.

Investigators were reviewing surveillance footage to get a better picture of what happened.

Erin Quackenbush-Baker was with her grandmother and three children at a kiosk in the middle of the mall when she heard the shots.

"My 5-year-old was covering her ears and crying. I was frantic to find a place to run, and I looked back -- my son in my stroller and glass is falling over us," she said. "The shots were getting closer."

She added, "I felt like sitting ducks where we were."

Timeline: Worst mass shootings in U.S.

During a brief halt in the gunfire, a man helped hustle the family members into a cosmetics store, where they hid for an hour "waiting to see if we were going to be shot or not."

As word spread that the shooter was moving from store to store, customers at Sears burst into tears, Christina Fisher told KOIN.

"We were told to stand in a group by the top of the escalators and stay away from the windows out of the aisle. ... We stood there for probably a good 20 minutes," she said. "All of the sudden, somebody came through with a radio, yelling, 'Get down!' "

As the mayhem unfolded, some customers watched television reports about the shooting from inside the Sears entertainment center, Tylor Pedersen told affiliate KGW.

Antonio Charro spotted a wounded woman near a cell phone store and tried to help.

"She had apparently been shot in the chest, and I couldn't get her turned over to help her," said Charro, who had been shopping at the mall with his daughters. "There was no one around. She wasn't breathing."

Clackamas County Sheriff Craig Roberts said about 10,000 people were in the mall at the time.

No law enforcement officers fired any shots when they arrived, sheriff's Sgt. Adam Phillips said.

The 1.4 million-square-foot mall remained closed Wednesday as investigators looked for clues about the attack.

Rowland said she's grateful she got distracted while shopping and didn't venture farther into the mall.

"I think if I hadn't stopped to smell that perfume, that maybe me and my baby wouldn't be here today."

CNN's Meridith Edwards, Catherine E. Shoichet, Cristy Lenz, Chandler Friedman, Michael Martinez, Tom Watkins and AnneClaire Stapleton contributed to this report.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 10:26 AM EST, Wed February 6, 2013
Advocates say the exam includes unnecessarily invasive and irrelevant procedures -- like a so-called "two finger" test.
updated 7:09 PM EST, Tue February 5, 2013
Supplies of food, clothing and fuel are running short in Damascus and people are going hungry as the civil war drags on.
updated 1:01 PM EST, Wed February 6, 2013
Supporters of Richard III want a reconstruction of his head to bring a human aspect to a leader portrayed as a murderous villain.
updated 10:48 AM EST, Tue February 5, 2013
Robert Fowler spent 130 days held hostage by the same al Qaeda group that was behind the Algeria massacre. He shares his experience.
updated 12:07 AM EST, Wed February 6, 2013
As "We are the World" plays, a video shows what looks like a nuclear attack on the U.S. Jim Clancy reports on a bizarre video from North Korea.
The relationship is, once again, cold enough to make Obama's much-trumpeted "reset" in Russian-U.S. relations seem thoroughly off the rails.
Ten years on, what do you think the Iraq war has changed in you, and in your country? Send us your thoughts and experiences.
updated 7:15 AM EST, Tue February 5, 2013
Musician Daniela Mercury has sold more than 12 million albums worldwide over a career span of nearly 30 years.
Photojournalist Alison Wright travelled the world to capture its many faces in her latest book, "Face to Face: Portraits of the Human Spirit."
updated 7:06 PM EST, Tue February 5, 2013
Europol claims 380 soccer matches, including top level ones, were fixed - as the scandal widens, CNN's Dan Rivers looks at how it's done.
updated 7:37 AM EST, Wed February 6, 2013
That galaxy far, far away is apparently bigger than first thought. The "Star Wars" franchise will get two spinoff movies, Disney announced.
updated 7:27 PM EDT, Fri July 25, 2014
It's an essential part of any trip, an activity we all take part in. Yet almost none of us are any good at it. Souvenir buying is too often an obligatory slog.
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT