"Many people will be affected by this terrible act of violence every day for the rest of their lives."
Clackamas County Sheriff Craig Roberts seemed to get a little hoarse as he spoke to reporters this morning about the details of yesterday's terrible shooting at Clackamas Town Center.
We now know the names of the victims who died yesterday:
Cindy Ann Yuille was a 54-year-old resident of NE Portland. Steven Mathew Forsyth was 45-year-old who lived in West Linn. Shooter Jacob Tyler Roberts, 22, killed them both yesterday as he fired shots seemingly at random from a stolen AR-15 semi-automatic rifle around the food court at the mall.
The families of the victims issued brief statements to the sheriff's office: Steven was a loving husband, father of two children, son, brother, uncle, youth sports coach and friend to the many people who had the privilege to meet him. Cindy was everybody’s friend. She was a wonderful person who was very caring and put others first.
Teenager Kristina Shevchenko was seriously injured in the senseless attack and remains at OHSU today. There were no apparent relationships between the suspect and the victims.
"This was a sole person acting on his own," said Sheriff Roberts, dismissing rumors that the FBI had been investigating the incident as a possible terrorist attack. Sheriff Roberts laid out the details of the shooting, noting that the incident could have resulted in even more deaths. Jacob Roberts was carrying several loaded magazines, but in the food court, his gun jammed. That, along with three other key factors, likely saved lives yesterday.
"In the past hours, many people have asked me, 'Why were there so few victims?'" said Sheriff Roberts. "First of all, just to make this really clear, the two people killed and the person injured, all of us have to recognize that this was a heartbreaking incident by any standard."
The first life-saving factor Sheriff Roberts pointed to was the speedy arrival of police. The 911 calls of a shooter came in at 3:29 and the first officers arrived on the scene within one minute, says Roberts, launching into their "active shooter protocol" immediately rather than waiting for a SWAT team. Luckily, the police had happened to train for an active shooter protocol in a test-run at Clackamas Town Center last year.
Secondly, Clackamas Town Center had a lockdown procedure for this type of incident and staff followed it well, said Roberts. Finally, there were 10,000 people in the mall and they all managed to keep a level head, get themselves out of the mall, and help others. "There were many heroes," said Roberts.