David W. Logsdon, 51, had been stopped by police while driving the car of his next-door neighbor, who police had found dead in her home hours earlier. Police did not say how Patricia Ann Reed, 67, died or if Logsdon was a suspect in her death, but they believed the events were connected.
"David Logsdon had a plan," police chief James Corwin said. "And that plan was that he had been an employee of that Target store and had been turned down for a private security license. His objective was to go to the mall and cause havoc."
Logsdon had applied to the police department to be certified as a security guard but he had two outstanding city warrants and was denied, police said. It was not clear when he was turned down.
After the officer pulled Logsdon over Sunday, police say he shot the officer in the arm. The officer, whose wound was not life-threatening, returned fire and shattered the window of the gunman's car.
Logsdon drove to the shopping center, fatally shot two people in the parking lot and wounded seven others outside the Target where he used to work, then went inside the mall where he was killed by police, authorities said.
Logsdon's sister, Kathryn Cagg, said he was mentally ill and an alcoholic. She said the family was concerned he would commit suicide in October 2005 and had taken him for treatment, but he was released from the treatment after six hours.
She also apologized to the victims' families but did not take questions.
"When a tragedy like this occurs, we want to understand the reasons. There is no way to understand this senseless act and so we must, we must turn it over to God," Cagg said.
The victims shot to death at the shopping center were Leslie N. Ballew, 33, of Kansas City, and Luke A. Nilges, 30, of Shawnee, Kan. Corwin said they appeared to be random victims and did not know Logsdon.
The Target store was closed Monday. Target said in a press release that it "expressed its deepest sympathies to the families of those affected by yesterday's tragic situation at the Ward Parkway Mall."
The company said Logsdon was a former "team member" at the store and that "he left on his own accord" in November 2006. No further details about his employment were provided.
Corwin said bomb squad crews were also called to Logsdon's home Monday after police reported his house had been "booby-trapped with a self-made bomb." But police later said the device was "a propane tank with boxes surrounding it" and was harmless.