Mass shooting at Indiana mall stopped by armed citizen

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Shots rang out in the food court of the Greenwood Park Mall in Greenwood, Indiana on Sunday night moments as a man armed with a rifle opened fire. Officials say the shooter, who has not been publicly identified, killed three people and wounded two others before he was shot and killed by an armed citizen moments later.

A lone man with a long gun killed three people before an armed bystander killed him in the Greenwood Park Mall food court Sunday evening, according to Greenwood Police Chief Jim Ison. Two people were injured.

“It appears that he had a rifle with several magazines of ammunition, entered the food court and began shooting,” Ison said.

The “good Samaritan” who shot the man with the rifle was a 22-year-old man from Bartholomew County, Indiana, Ison said.

“The real hero of the day is the citizen that was lawfully carrying a firearm in that food court and was able to stop the shooter almost as soon as he began,” he said.

One of the wounded was a 12-year-old girl with a minor injury.

The other victims ranged in age from early 20s to 30.

According to police the shooting started just as the mall was closing around 6 p.m. Chris Roy, who’s an assistant manager at a shoe shop in the mall, says his first indication that something was wrong came when he saw people running away from the food court as he was getting ready to lock up the store.

“So, I jumped over the counter, locked the door, gathered my associates and other managers at the back door,” said Roy, 30.

They hadn’t heard gunshots, but Roy said they saw enough people running to not ask questions. Through the back door they huddled in an interior hallway with about 40 or 50 other people – mostly customers from other stores, Roy said. That hallway didn’t have an exterior exit, so they waited for police to come clear them, he said. Roy and another man tried to keep everyone calm, but occasional footsteps on the other side of one of the connecting doors sent panic through the group.

“We just instructed everybody to keep quiet,” he said.

After 10 or 15 minutes, police cleared them from the hallway and escorted them out of the mall.

While there is still a lot of information to be revealed about the shooting, based on what police have said it seems like the suspect’s intention was to murder as many innocent people as possible. Thankfully there was an armed citizen who could quickly respond, though it appears that the 22-year old who shot and killed the suspect was carrying in violation of the mall’s policy on weapons. We don’t know if the suspect was specifically targeting the mall because it was supposed to be a “gun-free zone”, but according to the mall’s code of conduct, all weapons are prohibited on the premises.

Police say the 22-year-old from Bartholomew County had a legal gun permit. However, according to mall policy, the man should not have been carrying his handgun in the mall in the first place.

Last updated in April 2020, Simon Property Group states in its code of conduct that no weapons are allowed at their shopping centers. The group is the owner of the Greenwood Park Mall.

The property group has worked with Greenwood police for several planned security technology upgrades after recent incidents at the mall including two incidents where employees were held at gunpoint in the parking lot. These upgrades include license plate readers installed at mall entrances.

You won’t find any public officials chastising the armed citizen for violating mall policy, at least not so far. The Greenwood police chief called him the “hero of the day,” while Greenwood Mayor Mark Myers also praised the 22-year old for his “quick action and heroism in this situation,” saying that the city is “grateful” for his response.

I’m sure that in the wake of this shooting there will be a lot of debate about Indiana’s gun laws, which includes the Constitutional Carry law that went into effect on July 1st, the state’s longstanding “red flag” law, and even the “gun-free” policy of the Greenwood Park Mall. The bottom line, at least to me, is that this terrible situation would have been much worse were it not for the almost immediate armed response that took down the attacker, and I’m thankful that the 22-year old who stopped this attack before any more lives were lost was in a position to do so.

We’ll have more on this story later today as more details come to light, and our prayers are with the victims of Sunday’s attack, their families and friends, and the city of Greenwood, Indiana.