Oregon Mall Shooting: Gunman ‘Tentatively’ Identified

Oregon Mall Shooting: Gunman ‘Tentatively’ Identified

By COLLEEN CURRY and DEAN SCHABNER | Good Morning America

Good Morning America – Oregon Mall Shooting: Gunman ‘Tentatively’ Identified (ABC News)

A masked gunman who opened fire in the crowded Clackamas Town Center mall in suburban Portland, Ore., killing two individuals and seriously injuring a third before killing himself, has been identified by police, though they have not yet released his name.

The shooter, wearing a white hockey mask, black clothing, and a bullet proof vest, tore through the mall around 3:30 p.m. Tuesday, entering through a Macy’s store and proceeding to the food court and public areas spraying bullets, according to witness reports.

“We have been able to identify the shooter over last night,” Sheriff Craig Roberts told “Good Morning America” today. “At this point in time, because of the investigation, we’re actually doing supplemental search warrants, we’re not able to release the name of the individual at point in time for the reason being that we don’t want to jeopardize the investigation.”

Police have not released the names of the two deceased. Clackamas County Sheriff’s Department Lt. James Rhodes said authorities are in the process of notifying victims’ families.

The injured victim has been transported to a local hospital, according to Clackamas County Sheriff Craig Roberts.

PHOTOS: Oregon Mall Shooting

Nadia Telguz, who said she was a friend of the injured victim, told ABC News affiliate KATU-TV in Portland that the woman was expected to recover.

“My friend’s sister got shot,” Teleguz told KATU. “She’s on her way to (Oregon Health and Science University hospital). They’re saying she got shot in her side and so it’s not life-threatening, so she’ll be OK.”

Witnesses from the shooting rampage said that a young man who appeared to be a teenager ran through the upper level of Macy’s to the mall food court, firing multiple shots, one right after the other, with what is believed to be a black, semi-automatic rifle.

More than 10,000 shoppers were at the mall during the day, police said. Roberts said that officers responded to the scene of the shooting within minutes, and four SWAT teams swept the 1.4 million-square-foot building searching for the shooter. He was eventually found dead, an apparent suicide.

“I can confirm the shooter is dead of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound,” Rhodes said. “By all accounts there were no rounds fired by law enforcement today in the mall.”

Roberts said more than 100 law enforcement officers responded to the shooting, and at least four local agencies were working on the investigation, including the FBI and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, which is working to trace the shooter’s weapon.

READ: Guns in America: A Statistical Look

“For all of us, the mall is supposed to be a place where we can take our families, especially during the holiday season,” Roberts said. “Things like this are not supposed to happen.”

Roberts also said that shoppers, including two emergency room nurses and one physician who happened to be at the mall, provided medical assistance to victims who had been shot. Other shoppers helped escort individuals out of the mall and out of harm’s way, he said.

“There were a huge amount of people running in different directions, and it was chaos for a lot of citizens, but true heroes were stepping up in this time of high stress,” Roberts said. “E.R. nurses on the scene were providing medical care to those injured, a physician on the scene was helping provide care to the wounded.”

Mall shopper Daniel Martinez told KATU that he had just sat down at a Jamba Juice inside the mall when he heard rapid gunfire. He turned and saw the masked gunman, dressed in all black, about 10 feet away from him.

“I just saw him (the gunman) and thought, ‘I need to go somewhere,’” Martinez said. “It was so fast, and at that time, everyone was moving around.”

Martinez said he ran to the nearest clothing store. As he ran, he motioned for another woman to follow; several others ran to the store as well, hiding in a fitting room. They stayed there for an hour and a half until SWAT teams told them it was safe to leave the mall.

Witness Amber Tate said she was in the parking lot of the mall when she saw the shooter run by, wearing a mask and carrying a machine gun, headed for the Macy’s.

“He looked like a teenager wearing a gun, like a bullet proof vest and he had a machine, like an assault rifle and a white mask and he looked at me,” she said.

Other witnesses described the shooter as being on a mission and determined, looking straight ahead. He then seemed to walk through the mall toward the other end of the building, shooting along the way, according to witness reports.

Witnesses told KATU they heard “pops” and then saw the mall Santa fall to the ground. The man dressed as Santa, who did not give his name, told KATU that he wasn’t concerned at first by what sounded like balloons popping.

“Then when I heard about 18 more shots, I decided it was a semi-automatic and I hit the floor and my employees must have just scattered and got out of there because when I got up there was nobody there but me,” he said.

Others interviewed said that Macy’s shoppers and store employees huddled in a dressing room to avoid being found.

“I was helping a customer in the middle of the store, her and her granddaughter and while we were looking at sweatshirts we heard five to seven shots from a machine gun fire just outside my store,” Jacob Rogers, a store clerk, told KATU.

“We moved everyone into the back room where there’s no access to outside but where there’s a camera so we can monitor what’s going on out front,” Rogers said.

Evan Walters, an employee of a store in the mall, told ABC News Radio that he was locked in a store for his safety and he saw two people shot and heard multiple gunshots.

“It was over 20, and it was kind of surreal because we hear pops and loud noises,” he said. “We’re next to the food court here and we hear pops and loud noises all the time, but we don’t — nothing like that. It was very definite gunshots.”

Former FBI agent and ABC News contributor Brad Garrett said the shooter’s mask is typical for mass shooters, who often dress up in costume or wear something other than their regular clothes when they open fire in public.

“The biggest thing for a mass shooter is the control and empowerment for the shooting,” he said. “It isn’t uncommon for shooter to wear a costume, or sometimes simply to dress in black. In this case, apparently, he wore a hockey mask. He went there being someone other than who he is in reality because it gives him power.”

Garrett called the shooting today one of the worst scenarios for law enforcement, as malls are more crowded than ever during the holiday shopping season.

“The thing about mass shooters is that they almost always are premeditated. They are planned,” Garrett said. “This shooter I’m sure went through some period of steps before he actually reached going to mall, and there’ll be signs or systems either through friends, online, through relatives that will play into understanding why he committed this act.”

credit: GoodMorningAmerica+Yahoo news

Momma’s Source: Yahoo News

Share This

Heavy Snow Leaves 53 Dead, Hundreds Injured In North, West Japan

Heavy Snow Leaves 53 Dead, Hundreds Injured In North, West Japan

Heavy snow has left 53 dead and hundreds injured in several prefectures in western and northern Japan, it has been learned.

The loss of life came primarily in five prefectures along the Sea of Japan in the Tohoku region and Hokkaido, with 12 dead in Niigata, 11 in Hokkaido, nine in Aomori, eight in Nagano and six in Akita. Reported injuries have already surpassed 574, with over 100 in four of the five prefectures affected most by the strong cold air mass sweeping through the region.

Meanwhile, a number of municipalities blanketed by the heavy snow say they have run out of funds for snow removal, and have begun urgent calls on the central government for financial assistance.

According to Niigata Prefecture, the prefecture’s 30 municipalities had budgeted a total of some 13 billion yen for snow removal, but that as of Jan. 23 at least 12 could no longer afford to keep clearing snow, forcing the prefectural government to step in with supplementary funds. Furthermore, six cities in the prefecture have tapped central governmental emergency aid under the Disaster Relief Act.

In the prefectural city of Myoko, where more than three meters of snow has accumulated, authorities had to close all 14 elementary and middle schools as well as special education schools in the area as the snowfall outstripped the municipality’s capacity to clear it.

With the Japan Meteorological Agency warning of continued snowfall mainly along the Sea of Japan, snow removal expenses in the region are expected to increase further.

In Tokamachi, Niigata Prefecture, after snow is removed, it is stored in rice paddies until the beginning of the rice planting season. The entire process, including the use of heavy machinery and dump trucks, cost the municipality approximately 200 million yen in fiscal 2010, officials said.

“In places where it snows heavily, a lot of money is used even after the beginning of the spring,” said an official from the city’s construction office.

The Aomori Prefectural Government, which had initially allocated approximately 1.9 billion yen for snow removal operations, has already used about 1.8 billion. To cover additional snow removal expenses, prefectural officials have applied for about 2.94 billion yen in additional central government subsidies.

Meanwhile, the heavy snow has left major scars on infrastructure as well.

An approximately 95-meter-long steel bridge in the Nagano Prefecture village of Sakae collapsed on Jan. 30. Municipal authorities believe the cause may have been heavy snow, which was more than three meters deep at the time of the collapse.

The accident fortunately caused no injuries, as the bridge had been closed following the major earthquake that struck the prefecture in March last year.

A 41-year-old man in the same village, who lived in a temporary housing unit following last year’s earthquake, was reported dead on Jan. 6 after he fell from his unit’s roof while trying to clear it of snow.

This year’s heavy snowfall seems to be approaching the magnitude of that in 2006, which left major damage predominantly in Niigata and Nagano prefectures.

According to the Fire and Disaster Management Agency, a total of 152 people died during that year as a result of heavy snowfall. Approximately three-fourths of those deaths occurred during snow removal, sources say.

(Mainichi Japan) January 31, 2012

Source: mainichidailynews

Momma’s Source: dbskalways.wordpress.com

Share This

Official: Plane Problems May Have Caused Nevada Crash

 Official: Plane Problems May Have Caused Nevada Crash

By MARTIN GRIFFITH – Associated Press,SCOTT SONNER – Associated Press | AP – 9 hrs ago

RENO, Nev. (AP) — A vintage World War II-era fighter plane plunged into the grandstands Friday during a popular annual air show, killing at least three people, injuring more than 50 spectators and creating a horrific scene strewn with body parts and smoking debris.

The cause of the crash wasn’t immediately known, but an official with the event said there were indications that mechanical problems were at play.

The plane, flown by a renowned 74-year-old air racer and movie stunt pilot, spiraled suddenly out of control and appeared to disintegrate upon impact. Bloodied bodies were spread across the area as people tended to the victims and ambulances rushed to the scene.

Maureen Higgins of Alabama, who has been coming to the show for 16 years, said the pilot was on his third lap when he lost control.

She was sitting about 30 yards away from the crash and watched in horror as the man in front of her started bleeding after a piece of debris hit him in the head.

“I saw body parts and gore like you wouldn’t believe it. I’m talking an arm, a leg,” Higgins said “The alive people were missing body parts. I am not kidding you. It was gore. Unbelievable gore.”

Among the dead was pilot Jimmy Leeward, 74, of Ocala, Fla., a veteran airman and stunt pilot who named his P-51 Mustang fighter plane the “Galloping Ghost,” according to Mike Houghton, president and CEO of Reno Air Races. Officials earlier said Leeward was 80.

Renown Regional Medical Center spokeswoman Kathy Carter confirmed that two others died, but did not provide their identities.

Stephanie Kruse, a spokeswoman for the Regional Emergency Medical Service Authority, told The Associated Press that emergency crews took a total of 56 injury victims to three hospitals. She said they also observed a number of people being transported by private vehicle, which they are not including in their count.

Kruse said of the total 56, at the time of transport, 15 were considered in critical condition, 13 were serious condition with potentially life-threatening injuries and 28 were non-serious or non-life threatening.

“This is a very large incident, probably one of the largest this community has seen in decades,” Kruse told The Associated Press. “The community is pulling together to try to deal with the scope of it. The hospitals have certainly geared up and staffed up to deal with it.”

 

The P-51 Mustang crashed into a box-seat area in front of the grandstand at about 4:30 p.m., race spokesman Mike Draper said. Houghton said Leeward appeared to have “lost control of the aircraft,” though details on why that happened weren’t immediately known.

Houghton said at a news conference hours after the crash that there appeared to be a “problem with the aircraft that caused it to go out of control.” He did not elaborate.

He said the rest of the races have been canceled as the NTSB investigates.

KRNV-TV weatherman Jeff Martinez, who was just outside the air race grounds at the time, said the plane veered to the right and then “it just augered straight into the ground.”

“You saw pieces and parts going everywhere,” he said. “Everyone is in disbelief.”

Tanya Breining, off Hayward, Calif., told KTVU-TV in San Francisco: “It was absolute carnage. … It looked like more than a bomb exploded.”

Another witness, Ronald Sargis, said he was sitting in the box seat area near the finish line. The box seat area holds 300 to 400 people, while the main grandstands area holds several thousand.

“We could see the plane coming around the far turn — it was in trouble,” Sargis told KCRA-TV in Sacramento. “About six or seven boxes down from us, it impacted into the front row.”

He said the pilot appeared to do all he could to avoid crashing into the crowd. Response teams immediately went to work, Sargis said. After the crash Sargis went up a few rows into the grandstand to view the downed plane.

“It appeared to be just pulverized,” he said.

Leeward, the owner of the Leeward Air Ranch Racing Team, was a well-known racing pilot. His website says he has flown more than 120 races and served as a stunt pilot for numerous movies, including “Amelia” and “Cloud Dancer.”

In an interview with the Ocala (Fla.) Star-Banner last year, he described how he has flown 250 types of planes and has a particular fondness for the P-51, which came into the war relatively late and was used as a long-range bomber escort over Europe. Among the famous pilots of the hot new fighter was WWII double ace Chuck Yeager.

“They’re more fun. More speed, more challenge. Speed, speed and more speed,” Leeward said.

Houghton described Leeward as “a good friend. Everybody knows him. It’s a tight knit family. He’s been here for a long, long time,” Houghton said.

The National Championship Air Races draws thousands of people to Reno every year in September to watch various military and civilian planes race. They also have attracted scrutiny in the past over safety concerns, including four pilots killed in 2007 and 2008. It was such a concern that local school officials once considered whether they should not allow student field trips at the event.

The competition is like a car race in the sky, with planes flying wingtip-to-wingtip as low as 50 feet off the sagebrush at speeds sometimes surpassing 500 mph. Pilots follow an oval path around pylons, with distances and speeds depending on the class of aircraft.

The FAA and air race organizers spend months preparing for air races as they develop a plan involving pilot qualification, training and testing along with a layout for the course. The FAA inspects pilots’ practice runs and brief pilots on the route maneuvers and emergency procedures.

Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., issued a statement saying he was “deeply saddened” about the crash.

“My thoughts are with the families of those who have lost their lives and with those who were wounded in this horrific tragedy,” he said. “I am so grateful to our first responders for their swift action and will continue to monitor this situation as it develops.”

—-

Associated Press writer Cristina Silva contributed.

Momma’s Source: Yahoo news