A day after a gunman killed three people at a mall in Greenwood, Ind., officials identified the victims, suspect and armed bystander who fatally shot the gunman before he was able to kill more people.
At a press conference on Monday afternoon, Greenwood Police Chief Jim Ison said Elisjsha Dicken, 22, of Seymour, Ind., was shopping with his girlfriend at the Greenwood Park Mall when shots rang out in the food court on Sunday just before 6 p.m. local time.
“His actions were nothing short of heroic,” Ison said. “Many more people would have died last night had an armed citizen not taken action within two minutes of the shooting.”
The first gunman, identified by police as 20-year-old Jonathan Douglas Sapirman of Greenwood, entered a food court restroom with a backpack at 4:54 p.m. ET. He exited the restroom an hour and two minutes later with a rifle and fired 24 rounds, Ison said, killing 30-year-old Victor Gomez, 56-year-old Pedro Pineda and his 37-year-old wife, Rosa Mirian Rivera de Pineda.
Two other people, including a 12-year-old, were wounded or grazed by bullets or bullet fragments, Ison said.
Dicken confronted the gunman, who was trying to retreat back into the restroom, Ison said, firing 10 rounds from a handgun.
“He engaged the gunman from quite a distance,” Ison said, adding that Dicken is “very proficient” and “tactically sound,” despite having no known police or military training.
According to Ison, Dicken told mall security that he had shot the gunman, and waited for police to arrive. He was handcuffed and taken to police headquarters, where he was interviewed. Officers were able to corroborate his story using footage from security cameras, Ison said.
At the scene, police recovered a second rifle, Glock pistol and over 100 rounds of ammunition purchased legally by Sapirman in Greenwood within the past two years, Ison said. They also recovered the gunman’s cellphone, which they believe he dropped in the toilet.
During a subsequent search of the suspect’s rented apartment, a SWAT team found the oven on with a laptop and butane canister inside.
The cellphone and laptop were turned over to the FBI for analysis, Ison said.
Investigators have not been able to establish a motive for the shooting.
Ison said that the 20-year-old suspect had a juvenile record but no criminal history as an adult. Sapirman resigned from his job at a warehouse in May, and family members told police that they believe he was recently served an eviction notice.
Still, according to Ison, the suspect’s relatives were “just as surprised as anyone” and had no indication he was violent or unstable.