PORTLAND, Ore. (CBSNewYork) — It was a holiday shopping horror. Gunfire inside a mall near Portland, Ore., on Tuesday sent store employees and customers running for their lives.
“I heard it and I’m like, before I even got a chance to say there’s shots, I saw people running,” mall employee Stacy Settles said.
The sights and sounds of the holiday season were shattered in suburban Portland as a gunman opened fire inside the Clackamas Town Center Mall, killing two people before killing himself, CBS 2’s Chris Wragge reported. Another person was critically injured and hospitalized with traumatic injuries, police said.
Witnesses said the gunman wore a mask and ran through Macy’s with a rifle.
“Sort of a white, just plain-faced hockey mask came jogging through Macy’s running toward the public area. He was holding in full view an assault rifle,” a witness said.
Police, not sure if the gunman was still inside, led customers and employees into secure areas with their hands over their heads. Their disbelief was peppered by chaos.
“Everybody kind of just stood in the mall, I mean in the store, and looked at each other like, was that really gunshots we just heard?” witness Cameryn Calhoun said.
“I heard this really, loud, thunderous noise. And I thought maybe it was a truck or something,” another person said.
As soon as shots were heard, many shoppers were quickly moved into secure areas.
“People at the stores were opening doors for us to get in. They were ushering everybody in there, being told stay in the back stay calm, stay calm,” a witness said.
Panicked parents grabbed their children and ran screaming, while others were faced with not knowing what was happening.
“It’s a really scary situation. There were parents, people who had kids playing at the play structure, people who had sons, daughters out in the mall doing other things. It was a pretty tense situation and there were other people crying,” a witness said.
Throughout the evening, police went store to store searching for employees and shoppers.
“Teams carefully searching the mall for anybody else who might be injured. We will search this entire mall until we are certain it’s secure and everybody has been removed,” Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office Lt. James Rhodes said.
Investigators said the police who responded to the mall did not fire any shots.
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