Bystander Killed Gunman 2 Minutes Into Indiana Mall Shooting

A 20-year-old man carrying a rifle and pistol with access to another rifle and more than 100 rounds of ammunition was killed by a bystander two minutes after he began spraying gunfire at diners inside a mall food court in Greenwood, Ind., the authorities said on Monday.

By that time, the gunman, identified by the police as Jonathan Douglas Sapirman, 20, had already killed three people and injured two others. But the deadly spree on Sunday was cut short by a 22-year-old bystander carrying a handgun while shopping with his girlfriend.

Chief Jim Ison of the Greenwood Police Department called the bystander’s actions “nothing short of heroic,” identifying him as Elisjsha Dicken of Seymour, Ind.

“He engaged the gunman from quite a distance with a handgun, was very proficient in that, very tactically sound, and, as he moved to close in on the suspect, he was also motioning for people to exit behind him,” Chief Ison said at a news conference where he described surveillance video footage of the shooting.

The Johnson County coroner identified the victims, who were all from Indianapolis, as Victor Gomez, 30; and a husband and wife, Pedro Pineda, 56, and Rosa Mirian Rivera de Pineda, 37. Two additional people were injured: a 22-year-old woman hospitalized with a leg wound and a 12-year-old girl struck by a bullet fragment.

All the victims were shot by Mr. Sapirman, who fired 24 rounds, Chief Ison said. Mr. Dicken fired 10 rounds, killing the gunman as he tried to retreat to a mall bathroom where he had spent an hour apparently preparing for the attack.

The chief said there was no clear motive for the shooting.

There were no indicators the gunman was violent or unstable, his family members told the police, but he had recently received an eviction notice and resigned from a warehouse position in May. Chief Ison said the gunman had previous encounters with the local police, including for a fight at school.

Over the past two years, the relatives told the police, the gunman had frequently practiced shooting at a range in Greenwood, which is roughly 15 miles south of Indianapolis.

The scene outside the mall on Sunday after the shooting that killed three people.Credit…Lee Klafczynski for The New York Times

Mr. Sapirman brought three weapons into the Greenwood Park Mall, the police said: the gun he used in the shooting, a Sig Sauer M400 rifle he bought in March 2022; an M&P15 rifle that was found in the mall bathroom and bought in March 2021; and a Glock 33 pistol discovered on his body. The rifles were legally purchased in Greenwood, the police said.

When the gunman entered the mall just before 5 p.m., Chief Ison said, he walked directly to the food court’s bathroom, spending about an hour inside before exiting and taking aim at dozens of people eating dinner.

Two minutes later, Mr. Dicken fatally shot the gunman.

When the police arrived, they handcuffed Mr. Dicken and took him to a station for questioning, where security camera footage confirmed his description of the events. Chief Ison said that the police could not determine whether Mr. Dicken had a gun permit, but that he was carrying his Glock 9-millimeter handgun legally under the state’s constitutional carry law.

“This young man, Greenwood’s good Samaritan, acted within seconds, stopping the shooter and saving countless lives,” Mayor Mark Myers said on Monday.

Police officers served a search warrant on Sunday night at a Greenwood apartment where the gunman lived by himself, discovering a laptop and a can of butane inside the oven, which had been left on at a high temperature.

The laptop had been damaged by the heat but would be analyzed, the chief said. The police are also trying to retrieve data from a waterlogged cellphone that they believe the gunman placed in a toilet in the mall bathroom.

Greenwood, a city of about 63,000 people, has been shaken by the shooting.

“I don’t want to be among the mayors that has to share these statements, but, sadly, I am,” Mr. Myers said. “I grieve for these senseless killings, and I ache for the scars that are left behind on the victims and on our community.”

Hours after the shooting at the mall, four people were shot, one of them fatally, at an unrelated vigil in a park in Beech Grove, nine miles north of Greenwood.

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