Four people are dead and several injured after a man with a rifle walked into a food court at Greenwood Park Mall in Indiana and began shooting, local authorities said Sunday evening.
One of the dead is the suspected shooter, according to Greenwood Mayor Mark Myers. The gunman, an adult male, has not been identified. Police said he had been carrying a long rifle and several ammunition magazines.
“This tragedy hits at the core of our community,” the mayor said in a news release. “Please offer your prayers to the victims and our first responders.”
The gunman, according to Myers, was shot “by an armed individual.” The “good Samaritan,” as Greenwood Police Department Chief Jim Ison identified him at a press conference, was a 22-year-old civilian from nearby Bartholomew County.
“The real hero of the day is the citizen that was lawfully carrying a firearm in that food court and was able to stop the shooter almost as soon as he began,” Ison said, according to the Indianapolis Star.
The armed bystander “appears to be cooperating fully” with investigators, Ison added.
Two people were hospitalized following the shooting. One was a 12-year-old girl, who sustained a “minor injury,” the Star reported.
“We are sickened by yet another type of incident like this, in our city, in our country,” Indianapolis Assistant Chief of Police Chris Bailey said.
Authorities responded to the scene in Greenwood, a city of 60,000 just south of Indianapolis, just before 6 p.m. Witnesses told FOX59 that the shooting began after “a group of teenagers started arguing,” according to a tweet from a channel anchor. Others told 13News that they had heard roughly 20 shots being fired inside the mall’s food court.
Olivia Harding said she was at the mall with her mom when they heard four gunshots go off, telling CNN she thought the mall carousel had broken down.
“Next thing you know, you hear about six more shots and you see everybody running,” Harding said, adding that it would be “a very long time” before she’ll set foot in a mall again.
Chris Roy, a 30-year-old assistant manager at the mall’s Vans store, told the Star that he had been working when he saw people sprinting away from the food court. No one in the store heard gunshots, but the panic outside spoke for itself, he said.
“So I jumped over the counter, locked the door, gathered my associates and other managers at the back door,” he told the newspaper, adding that police arrived and escorted them out of the building after 15 tense minutes.
Then, “I called my mom,” he said.
In addition to the heavily armed officers swarming the area outside the mall, a bomb squad had been dispatched to the area to investigate a suspicious package in one of the mall’s bathrooms, according to BNO News.
The backpack was labeled suspicious and confiscated by investigators but later declared harmless, according to the Star.
“I’ve been a police officer most of my life,” Mayor Myers told The New York Times in an interview on Sunday evening. “Still, this is incredibly shocking, to not only me but our entire community.”