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Oregon Mall Shooting Update: Gunman 'tentatively' identified, police say

Emergency personnel stand by outside the Clackamas Town Center in Portland, Ore., Tuesday, Dec. 11, 2012. A gunman opened fire in the suburban Portland shopping mall Tuesday, killing two people and wounding another as people were doing their Christmas shopping, authorities said. (AP Photo/Statesman-Journal, Thomas Patterson) Thomas Patterson

Emergency personnel stand by outside the Clackamas Town Center in Portland, Ore., on Dec. 11, 2012
AP Photo/Statesman-Journal, Thomas Patterson

(CBS/AP) PORTLAND, Ore. - Police said they tentatively identified the gunman who killed two people during open fire in an Oregon shopping mall on Tuesday, but would not release his name or give any information on a possible motive.

Witnesses said a man in his 20s dressed in camouflage and a mask and possibly wearing body armor fired dozens of rounds on Tuesday afternoon. The attack left three people dead, including the gunman who police say killed himself.

Another bystander was seriously wounded, but the toll could have been far worse. 

Witnesses said the suspect fired several times near the mall food court until the rifle jammed and he dropped a magazine onto the floor. He then ran into a Macy's department store.

He was reportedly heard saying, "I am the shooter," as he fired rounds from a semi-automatic rifle inside the Clackamas Town Center, a popular suburban mall several miles from downtown Portland.

Police rapid-response teams came into the mall with guns drawn, telling everyone to leave. Shoppers and mall employees who were hiding stayed in touch with loved ones with cellphones and texting.

Clackamas County Sheriff Craig Roberts told NBC's "Today" show on Wednesday that it appears to have been a random shooting and the gunman was seemingly targeting "anyone who was in his line of sight."

"It was very apparent that he had a mission set forth to really take the lives of people in that mall," Roberts said.

The shooting started around 3:30 p.m. It was not clear how long it lasted, but some shoppers and employees hid in fear for at least two hours as teams of police checked to see whether there might be another shooter.

Jason DeCosta is a manager of a window-tinting company that has a display on the mall's ground floor. When he arrived to relieve his coworker, he heard shots ring out upstairs.

DeCosta ran up an escalator and said when he got to the food court, "I saw a gentleman face down, obviously shot in the head."

"A lot of blood," DeCosta said. "You could tell there was nothing you could do for him."

He said he also saw a woman on the floor who had been shot in the chest.

Austin Patty, 20, who works at Macy's, said he saw a man in a white mask carrying a rifle and wearing a bulletproof vest. There was a series of rapid-fire shots in short succession as Christmas music played. Patty said he dove for the floor and then ran.

His co-worker, Pam Moore, told The Associated Press the gunman was short, with dark hair.

Clackamas Town Center is one of the Portland area's biggest and busiest malls, with 185 stores and a 20-screen movie theater.

More on Crimesider
Dec. 11, 2012 - Oregon Mall Shooting: Gunman allegedly opens fire, killing two, then self

  • Crimesider Staff

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