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Oregon mall gunman was moving to Hawaii, co-workers say

By Associated Press & Star-Advertiser

POSTED:
LAST UPDATED: 05:50 p.m. HST, Dec 12, 2012


PORTLAND, Ore. >> The gunman who killed two people and himself in a shooting rampage at an Oregon mall missed his flight to Hawaii, where he had been planning to move, according to co-workers.

In an interview with the Oregonian, Arianna Johnson, who worked with Jacob Tyler Roberts, 22, at Big Bertha's, a late-night sandwich shop, said he had given notice near the end of November. He told co-workers that he had recently inherited money from a relative and that he planned to use that money to go to Hawaii, travel the islands and decide whether he wanted to move there permanently. 

"We were all kind of surprised," she said about his plans to go to Hawaii. "He was leaving all of a sudden." 

An ex-roomate, who did not give his name, said Roberts had sold all his personal belongings and was set to fly to Hawaii when he called on Saturday to say he had missed his flight. That was the last contact the man said he had with Roberts.

"He was always just joking around with customers," Johnson of Roberts. "I've never seen him act out of hand or poorly toward anyone." 

Roberts had armed himself with an AR-15 semiautomatic rifle, stolen from someone he knew, and had several fully loaded magazines when he arrived at a Portland mall on Tuesday, said Clackamas County Sheriff Craig Roberts.

The sheriff said the rifle jammed during the 22-year-old's attack, but he managed to get it working again. He later shot himself. Authorities don't yet have a motive but don't believe he was targeting specific people.

Two people — a 54-year-old woman and a 45-year-old man — were killed, and another, Kristina Shevchenko, whose age could not be confirmed, was wounded and in serious condition today.

Roberts, wearing a hockey-style face mask, parked his 1996 green Volkswagen Jetta in front of the second-floor entrance to Macy's and walked briskly through the store, into the mall and began firing randomly, police said.

He fatally shot Steven Mathew Forsyth of West Linn and Cindy Ann Yuille of Portland, the sheriff said.

Roberts then fled along a mall corridor and into a back hallway, down stairs and into a corner where police found him dead from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot, authorities said.

People at the mall were heroic in helping get shoppers out of the building, including medical personnel who rendered aid, Roberts said.

In response to previous mass shootings elsewhere, the first arriving officers were trained to form teams and go inside instead of waiting for SWAT. Employees at the mall also received training to handle such a situation.

"This could have been much, much worse," Roberts said.

The first 911 call came at 3:29 p.m. Tuesday and officers arrived a minute later. By 3:51 p.m., all the victims and the gunman and rifle had been found. Four SWAT teams spent hours clearing the 1.4 million square-foot mall, leaving shoppers and workers to hide in fear.

Roberts rented a basement room in a modest, single-story Portland home and hadn't lived there long, said a neighbor, Bobbi Bates. Bates said she saw Roberts leave at 1:30 p.m. Tuesday wearing a dark jacket and jeans, carrying a guitar case. An occupant at the house declined to comment.

The mall Santa, Brance Wilson, was waiting for the next child's Christmas wish when shots rang out, causing the mall to erupt into chaos.

About to invite a child to hop onto his lap, Wilson instead dove for the floor and kept his head down as he heard shots being fired upstairs in the mall.

"I heard two shots and got out of the chair. I thought a red suit was a pretty good target," said Wilson, 68. Families waiting for Santa scattered. More shots followed, and Wilson crept away for better cover.

Witnesses heard the gunman 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.

Some were close enough to the shooter to feel the percussion of his gun.

Kayla Sprint, 18, was interviewing for a job at a clothing store when she heard shots.

"We heard people running back here screaming, yelling '911,'" she told The Associated Press.

Sprint barricaded herself in the store's back room until the coast was clear.

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

DeCosta ran up an escalator, past people who had dropped for cover and glass littering the floor.

"I figure if he's shooting a gun, he's gonna run out of bullets," DeCosta said, "and I'm gonna take him."

DeCosta 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 Macy's co-worker, Pam Moore, told the AP the gunman was short, with dark hair.

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," Rowland said.

Kaelynn Keelin was working two stores down from Macy's when the gunfire began. She watched windows of another store get shot out. She and her co-workers ran to get customers inside their own store to take shelter.

"If we would have run out, we would have run right into it," she said.

Shaun Wik, 20, was Christmas shopping with his girlfriend and opened a fortune cookie at the food court. Inside was written: "Live for today. Remember yesterday. Think of tomorrow."

As he read it, he heard three shots. He heard a man he believes was the gunman shout, "Get down!" but Wik and his girlfriend ran. He heard seven or eight more shots. He didn't turn around.

"If I had looked back, I might not be standing here," Wik said. "I might have been one of the ones who got hit."

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

Holli Bautista, 28, was shopping at Macy's for a Christmas dress for her daughter when she heard pops that sounded like firecrackers. "I heard people running and screaming and saying 'Get out, there's somebody shooting,'" she told the AP.

She said hundreds of shoppers and mall employees started running, and she and dozens of other people were trying to escape through a department store exit.

Tiffany Turgetto and her husband were leaving Macy's through the first floor when they heard gunshots coming from the second floor of the mall. They were able to leave quickly through a Barnes & Noble bookstore before the police locked down the mall.

"I had left my phone at home. I was telling people to call 911. Surprisingly, people are around me, no one was calling 911. I think people were in shock," she said.

———

Associated Press writers Steven DuBois, Nigel Duara, Anne M. Peterson, Tim Fought and Sarah Skidmore in Portland, Michelle Price in Phoenix, Pete Yost in Washington, Manuel Valdes in Seattle and researcher Rhonda Shafner contributed to this report.







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Pocho wrote:
Why do these kooks always want to come to Hawaii.
on December 12,2012 | 11:56AM
Morimoto wrote:
What? Why do you say always? I don't even remember another story similar where they wanted to come to Hawaii. You're making something out of nothing.
on December 12,2012 | 12:15PM
FrankieT wrote:
Morimoto, you are correct, Pocho, please think before commenting
on December 12,2012 | 03:05PM
808warriorfan wrote:
"Pochos" don't think...they just comment...
on December 12,2012 | 03:11PM
Pocho wrote:
you know if never miss his flight and got here then having no job, he'd be taken care of by the State of Hawaii taxpayers(handouts). He'd fit right in pushing them carts and wagons in Waikiki, Ala Moana, etc.
on December 12,2012 | 05:54PM
aomohoa wrote:
Pocho is sounding like Allie. Speak first and don't think at all.
on December 12,2012 | 03:29PM
Pocho wrote:
dey always want to link Hawaii and Kooks. You go figa
on December 12,2012 | 05:45PM
Pocho wrote:
they give em one way tickets to beautiful sunny Hawaii. no snow, EBT cards, etc.
on December 12,2012 | 05:47PM
Pocho wrote:
and you know what, if he neva miss his flight gotten no job he'd fit right in the crowd pushing cars and wagons
on December 12,2012 | 05:50PM
copperwire9 wrote:
shut up, please.
on December 12,2012 | 11:37PM
cunfuzd4 wrote:
Pocho - use some common sense. if you want to find out how a kook thinks talkk to allie.
on December 12,2012 | 06:59PM
KonaGold wrote:
Makes you glad that nutcase missed the flight. Oregon can keep their weirdos, we have enough of our own.
on December 12,2012 | 11:58AM
allie wrote:
yikes..another tourist drifting around
on December 12,2012 | 12:02PM
Morimoto wrote:
yikes.. another comment from the resident SA troll.
on December 12,2012 | 12:16PM
KekoaBradshaw wrote:
gee, now you insult tourists "drifting around".
on December 12,2012 | 12:22PM
HawaiiCheeseBall wrote:
I thought tthat's what tourist do - just sort of drift around.
on December 12,2012 | 01:28PM
aomohoa wrote:
???? He was thinking of moving here.
on December 12,2012 | 03:30PM
cunfuzd4 wrote:
why act surprised? allie's here isn't he?
on December 12,2012 | 06:45PM
cojef wrote:
No job, just an airplane ticket, you-all in Hawaii just dodged the bullet. Without a job, he would have ended up adding to the homeless rolls.
on December 12,2012 | 12:14PM
HawaiiCheeseBall wrote:
Hey wait a minute, he told a co-worker that he had inherited some money. Don't you believe that he did? Come on he must have actually received the money right?
on December 12,2012 | 01:28PM
aomohoa wrote:
So he said.
on December 12,2012 | 03:31PM
lowtone123 wrote:
Thank God for small favors.
on December 12,2012 | 01:25PM
busterb wrote:
LOL, dude probably thought he'd cruise down to his flight but didn't know Haw'n always leaves on time! Thank gawd he didn't come here.
on December 12,2012 | 02:12PM
niimi wrote:
Glad he didn't make it over here.
on December 12,2012 | 03:38PM
Fred01 wrote:
I think he would have passed as "local" the second he stepped off the plane.
on December 12,2012 | 04:20PM
RKC808 wrote:
OMG He wouldve shot all the MOKES
on December 12,2012 | 05:12PM
cunfuzd4 wrote:
Hmm not really. Look at his victims.
on December 12,2012 | 06:50PM
Anonymous wrote:
Well, it is Oregon...
on December 12,2012 | 11:36PM
cunfuzd4 wrote:
No man, I meant they look like just typical folk that wouldn't stand out from any crowd. Didn't seem to be targeting any one group
on December 13,2012 | 02:34AM
WKAMA wrote:
Wow, lucky Hawaii!
on December 12,2012 | 06:55PM
dede wrote:
Sometimes we can't detect mental issues with people who seem normal.
on December 12,2012 | 07:56PM
Mythman wrote:
It's called Hate - there is already plenty of it in Hawaii but it's well organized and attractive: hard to detect but just below the surface. Disagree with any of the self righteous Kam Schools "Hawaiians" and you will feel its sting......
on December 12,2012 | 10:07PM
Anonymous wrote:
I love it when people just bring up random subjects that have nothing to do with the article.
on December 12,2012 | 11:37PM
cunfuzd4 wrote:
so myth why is it that you obviously hate "Hawaiians"?
on December 13,2012 | 02:31AM
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