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Oregon mall shooter identified as Jacob Roberts

4:33 PM, Dec 12, 2012   |    comments
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Jacob Roberts was named as the gunman in the shooting spree at a Portland-area mall.(Photo: Clackamas County Sheriff's Office)

John Bacon, USA TODAY

The masked gunman who shot up a crowded Oregon mall, killing two people and himself, was identified by authorities Wednesday as Portland resident Jacob Tyler Roberts, 22.

Clackamas County Sheriff Craig Roberts said the shooter didn't appear to be targeting anyone in particular when he entered the Clackamas Town Center on Tuesday and fired as many as 60 shots.

"Every indication we have is that he acted solely on his own in carrying out this heinous, horrible crime," the sheriff said.

He said the death toll would have been higher had the shooter's gun not jammed and law enforcement not responded within minutes of the first shot. Still, the sheriff called the shooting a "heartbreaking tragedy by any standard."

The dead were identified as Cindy Ann Yuille, 54, of Portland, and Steven Forsyth, 45, of nearby West Linn. Kristina Shevchenko, 15, was in serious condition at Oregon Health & Science University Hospital in Portland.

Sheriff Roberts said the shooter entered the mall with an AR-15 semiautomatic assault rifle he had stolen the day before from someone he knew. He was wearing a mask and "load-bearing" vest -- but not a bullet-proof one.

The mall was packed with 10,000 holiday shoppers and store workers when the first shots rang out, the sheriff said. The mall is one of the biggest in the state, with 185 stores and a 20-screen movie theater.

As the shooting started many of the shoppers immediately took cover or hid in stores inside the mall.

"Ten thousand people kept a level head, got themselves out, got others out," Sheriff Roberts said. "There are a lot of heroes."

The first 911 call came at 3:29 p.m. PT, and the first officers arrived a minute later, the sheriff said. He said the shooter began shooting near Macy's on the upper level of the mall. He said the gun jammed, but that the shooter was able to get it to operate again. He then went to a lower level of the mall and shot himself.

By 3:51 p.m., all the victims and the gunman and rifle had been found, Sheriff Roberts said. Four SWAT teams spent hours clearing the 1.4 million square-foot mall.

The suspect's vehicle, a 1996 Volkswagen Jetta found parked at the mall, and his Portland home were searched after the shooting, Sheriff Roberts said. An official said multiple rounds of ammunition were found inside the house.

A Google map photo of the address in southeast Portland shows a modest, single family home.

Messages left with members of the shooter's family were not immediately returned.

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, and told the Associated Press that he heard the gunman say, "I am the shooter," as if announcing himself. Patty said he ducked to the ground as a series of rapid shots were fired, then ran to safety.

Alina Pavlenko, 16, who was working at a cupcake stand in the mall, said she saw the gunman shoot at a woman and watched her fall, then saw the shooter point in her direction and fire.

"He looked straight at me, and he aimed but he missed," Pavlenko told The Oregonian. She said she froze.

"He kept on shooting, and he kept on walking," Pavlenko said. "He wasn't running. He was walking so slow. He dropped the thing he used to load bullets, and he just slowly picked it up and put back in again."

Hannah Baggs, 14, said she looked directly at the gunman just moments before he entered the mall and opened fire. "He was, like, 10 feet away from us, wearing a white mask and carrying something heavy with both hands," the high school freshman told The Oregonian. "He went running into the store. I was scared, but I didn't tell my mom because I didn't want to get her upset."

Julie Donohue, 60, of Milwaukie, Ore., told the newspaper she was sitting near the windows in a restaurant when she heard screaming and saw people fleeing Macy's.

"I told the people around me that we had to leave now. I left my food and got outside just as the police arrived," Donohue said. "I just couldn't stop shaking."

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."

Camille Shupe, 20, of Monmouth, Ore., was reading books at the Barnes & Noble store when she heard loud pops. She did not immediately recognize them as gunfire but saw people running from the store.

"I dropped my phone and left," she said. "I knew this is for real.''

Contributing: William M. Welch; Carolyn Pesce; Emily Gillespie, (Salem, Ore.) Statesman Journal; the Associated Press

USA TODAY

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