UPDATE 1.30 p.m. (EST): The Oregon gunman has been identified as 22-year-old Jacob Tyler Roberts, reported NBC. According to police, the shooter used an AR 15 semi-automatic rifle that he had stolen from a person he knew, but motives for the shooting are still unknown.
UPDATE 11.00 a.m. (EST): Clackamas County Sheriff Craig Roberts told ABC's "Good Morning America" that the shooter, as yet unnamed by police, seemed to have picked his victims at random. "It really was a killing of total strangers, to my knowledge at this point and time. He was really trying to kill as many people as possible," Roberts said (see video below).
9.45 a.m. (EST): Holiday shoppers in Oregon were plunged into terror Tuesday night when a masked gunman opened fire in a mall just outside of Portland, leaving three people dead including himself.
"Entire swaths of Clackamas Town Center turned silent, except for the blasts from the man's rifle and the ensuing screams. Even the mall's Santa dropped to the ground," reported CNN on the latest public shooting tragedy to hit the U.S..
According to reports, the rifle-wielding gunman, who wore a hockey mask, fired over twenty shots, killing two people and then himself. The shooter, believed to be in his twenties, has been tentatively identified but police are not yet releasing his name. More than 10,000 shoppers were at the mall during the day, police said. The AP reported that witnesses heard the gunman cry, "I am the shooter" before he opened fire. No motives have been identified.
"I thought I was going to die...The gunshots were so loud, it was very scary. ... Kids were crying. Parents were crying, too," " mall employee David Moran told CNN.
Like responses to the movie theater shooting in Aurora, Co. last summer, comments coming out of Oregon reflect disbelief that another venue of everyday American life had become a site of tragedy. ""For all of us, the mall is supposed to be a place where we can take our families, especially during the holiday season," local Sheriff Craig Roberts told reporters. "Things like this are not supposed to happen."