NBC News is reporting that a gunman opened fire this afternoon at a mall near Portland, Ore., on Tuesday afternoon. At least two people have been killed and several wounded–including one with traumatic injuries–but the details remain murky.
The gunman was also killed, according to Lt. James Rhodes of the Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office. His identify has not been released. Rhodes said police do not believe there was a second shooter, although are investigating witness reports that there was more than one gunman. Inside the mall, people were hiding in break rooms and bathrooms; teams of police were going through the mall to help bring them out.
A spokeswoman at Legacy Emanuel Hospital, one of two level one trauma centers in the Portland area, told NBC News that no patients had been admitted as of 5:15 p.m. local time (8:15 p.m. ET) but that the hospital had been alerted that one victim could arrive by Life Flight.
The Oregonian newspaper said that one of its columnists was in the mall and reported that dozens of shots were fired in the food court near the Macy’s at the Clackamas Town Center around 3:20 p.m.
Witness Amber Tate told KATU that she was standing in the parking lot when she spotted a man wearing a camouflage shirt and what looked like a bulletproof vest. Tate said he looked like a teenager. 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.” Employees shut the doors of the restaurant, she said. And she described the mall as full of police.
Also according to NBC News, Pedro Garcia, 24, told The Oregonian that he was headed to Panera Bread Co. to buy sandwiches when he heard at least six shots. “I could smell the gunpowder,” Garcia said. “That’s what pretty much what made me run.”
The mall entrances have been blocked off.
On MSNBC, former FBI profiler Cliff van Zandt said that police swarmed into the mall even before they knew how many gunmen were involved or precisely what the situation was–a lesson that cops learned after the Columbine school shooting. In that incident, police secured the outside of the school and waited to enter the building until long after the two teenage shooters had already committed suicide. While they waited, one of the victims, a science teacher, bled to death.