A shooting rampage that killed three people and injured two others at an Indiana mall ended after an armed witness shot and killed the assailant, police said.
Around 6 p.m. local time Sunday, multiple people called 911 to report an active shooter at the Greenwood Park Mall, Greenwood Police Chief Jim Ison told reporters.
Investigators believe the unidentified gunman, an adult man, was shot and killed by a lawfully armed 22-year-old man who “observed the shooting in progress,” Ison said.
Those injured or killed include one male and four females, including a 12-year-old girl whose parents brought her to a hospital with minor injuries after the shooting, the chief said.
The second injured victim was hospitalized and in stable condition as of Sunday evening, Ison said.
“This has shaken us to our core. This isn’t something that we have seen here in Greenwood before. It is absolutely horrendous and our thoughts and prayers are with those loved ones hurting tonight,” the police chief said.
The Greenwood Police Department has trained for a mass shooting scenario and has performed “multiple mall exercises” to prepare for active shooter situations, he said.
“But I’m going to tell you, the real hero of the day is the citizen that was lawfully carrying a firearm in that food court and was able to stop this shooter almost as soon as he began,” Ison said.
It’s rare to have an armed bystander attack an active shooter, according to a data analysis published by The New York Times.
There were at least 433 active shooter attacks in the US from 2000 to 2021, according to the data analysis. Active shooter attacks were defined as those in which one or more shooters killed or attempted to kill multiple unrelated people in a populated place.
Of those 433 active shooter cases, an armed bystander shot the attacker in 22 of the incidents. In 10 of those, the “good guy” was a security guard or an off-duty police officer, the Times reported.
And having more than one armed person at the scene who is not a member of law enforcement can create confusion and carry dire risks, the report found. For example, an armed bystander who shot and killed an attacker in 2021 in Arvada, Colorado, was himself shot and killed by the police who mistook him for the gunman, the Times reported.
In the Greenwood mall shooting, the gunman apparently used a long-gun rifle, Ison said, though law enforcement had not immediately recovered any weapons from the scene.
Olivia Harding said she was at the Old Navy in the mall when she and her mom heard four gunshots and thought the nearby carousel was breaking down.
“Next thing you know, you hear about six more shots and you see everybody running,” Harding told CNN affiliate WISH. Harding said she doesn’t think she’ll go back to a mall “for a very long time.”
There have been 350 mass shootings this year, according to Gun Violence Archive. Like CNN, the archive defines a mass shooting as one in which four or more people are shot, not including the shooter.
The community now joins a slew of others also grappling with the aftermath of mass shootings, including communities reeling from recent massacres at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, and a July Fourth parade in Highland Park, Illinois.
SWAT teams cleared the mall and determined there were no additional threats in the building, Ison said.
Police are still investigating the shooter’s motive and questioning people who were inside the mall at the time. Police are asking all witnesses to contact authorities.
Multiple agencies responded to the scene to assist, including the FBI, ATF, Johnson County Sheriff’s Department and Department of Homeland Security, Ison said.
Police cleared a backpack that was found on the scene and did not find any explosive devices, Ison said.
“This tragedy hits at the core of our community,” Greenwood Mayor Mark Meyers said in a Facebook post. “Please offer your prayers to the victims and our first responders.”
On Sunday evening, Meyers also thanked the person who fatally shot the gunman during the attack.
“This person saved lives tonight,” the mayor said in another statement. “On behalf of the City of Greenwood, I am grateful for his quick action and heroism in this situation.”