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Ore. mall shooter used stolen gun, officials say

PORTLAND, Ore. — The gunman who killed two people and himself in a shooting rampage at an Oregon mall was 22 and used a rifle stolen from someone he knew, authorities said Wednesday.

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

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The sheriff said the rifle jammed during the attack, but the gunman 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, 15, was wounded and in serious condition on Wednesday.

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.

WORDS OF A KILLER

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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.

Roberts rented a basement room in a modest, single-story Portland home and had not 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 the semiautomatic 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.

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