On Tuesday, a masked gunman opened fire in a suburban Portland, Oregon mall that police say was full of nearly ten-thousand people. According to the Clackamas County Sheriff's Office, three people were killed, including the shooter who died of a self-inflicted gunshot. One young woman suffered a traumatic injury. This morning Austin Patty, a employee at the Macy’s inside the Clackamas Town center joins “Starting Point” to talk about his experience inside the store at the time of the shooting.
Patty says he was alerted that a shooter was in the mall by a man from the Salvation Army that he had met earlier in the week. Patty describes the shooter who was in his store as a “tall slender guy about average height” who was wearing “a Jason hockey mask.” He adds that the shooter had on a bulletproof vest and what appeared to be a large assault rifle, “you would see on a video game.”
Patty says as he watched the gunman time slowed down and then he heard the shooter proclaim, “I am the shooter” and then fire “five or six shots.”
After fleeing outside the store, Patty says he started warning people about the shooter and to leave the mall.
On the gunman’s possible motive Patty says, “I honestly think it was just a open fire massacre, just like a mall massacre…I don’t know what he was going through or what happened. I know he came in on a mission though. He ran in fast.”
Patty says after the shooting he sat with his family at home and thought about it being “two weeks before Christmas” and “someone coming to do this at one of our biggest malls. He adds, “It’s unbelievable. It’s just crazy”
Police say there were ten-thousand people inside the Clackamas Town Center in suburban Portland Tuesday when a man wearing a mask suddenly opened fire. According to the Clackamas County Sheriff's Office, three people were killed, including the shooter who died of a self-inflicted gunshot. One young woman suffered a traumatic injury. Alexsis Winterhalter was in the mall when the shooting happened and managed to flee to safety in the parking lot. She joins “Stating Point” to share her frightening experience.
Winterhalter says after yesterday’s shooting she is still recovering, shaken up and in disbelief that the shooting occurred in “the community [she has] grown up in [her] whole life and the mall that [she has] been into hundreds of times with [her] friends and family.”
Winterhalter who was getting her hair done in the basement of the mall says as the beautician was blow-drying her hair she “heard a very loud noise that sounded like the ceiling was falling through… and the gunfire was going on long enough that we had time to stop and say ‘what is this noise’ and we realized …that’s a gun.” Winterhalter adds the hair salon receptionist noticed people “scattering and running everywhere.” She goes on to say that after fleeing she and others ended up hiding behind a dumpster for a few minutes and later in the parking lot where they hid behind cars.
When it comes to time, Winterhalter says, “when you’re in the situation everything seems like slot motion. So for me it felt like it took a while but looking back at tit I heard sirens almost instantly.” In addition to the sirens she describes seeing multiple police cars and unmarked cars surrounding the area. She adds that she was “very impressed by how fast and how many of them there were.”
After reaching home, Winterhalter says she was able to use social media to verify that all her loved ones were safe and unharmed; including her best friend who says the shooter brushed passed her while she was shopping in Macy’s.