Police release details of Greenwood mall shooting, including identities of shooter, ‘good Samaritan’

Keywords Greenwood / Law
  • Comments
  • Print
Greenwood Mayor Mark Myers addressed the media during a press conference a day after the July 17 shooting at Greenwood Park Mall. (IBJ photo/Taylor Wooten)

Greenwood officials disclosed Monday afternoon that the shooter who killed three people at Greenwood Park Mall on Sunday evening—and then was shot and killed by a “good Samaritan” bystander—was a 20-year-old city resident who had run-ins with police as a juvenile.

Police identified the shooter as Jonathan Douglas Sapirman, who entered the mall at 4:54 p.m. and then spent about an hour in the food court bathroom before emerging with a rifle. He also had two other weapons and more than 100 rounds of ammunition.

Jonathan Douglas Sapirman

Investigators believe Sapirman spent that hour preparing and possibly assembling a rifle that he had brought in his backpack. He ended up firing 24 rounds within two minutes.

Those killed by Sapirman were Pedro Pineda, 56, and his wife, 37-year-old Rosa Mirian Rivera de Pineda, both of Indianapolis; as well as 30-year-old Victor Gomez, also of Indianapolis,

Sapirman was confronted by 22-year-old Elisjsha Dicken at 5:57 p.m. He fired 10 rounds at Sapirman, who was hit and dropped to the ground. He died on the scene.

Greenwood Police Chief James Ison praised Dicken and asked local media to refrain from contacting him until he has had time to process the incident.

“We’re very thankful for the 22-year-old man who stopped this violent act … and who saved countless lives,” Ison said.

Dicken, a resident of Seymour, was shopping at the mall with his girlfriend when the incident took place.

Sapirman’s juvenile record included a school fight and a runaway incident. Police said he purchased two of his weapons in March. They believe he didn’t have a car and that he walked to the mall on Sunday.

Police also said Sapirman’s family indicated he had been practicing at a Range USA firing range for two years.

Authorities were still trying to determine a motive for the attack, Ison said.

Although authorities said Dicken was legally armed, the mall prohibits people from carrying weapons on its property.

As of July 1, Indiana law allows anyone age 18 or older to carry a handgun in public except for those prohibited for reasons such as having a felony conviction, facing a restraining order or having a dangerous mental illness as determined by a court. Indiana’s Republican-dominated Legislature retained provisions in the law that allow private property owners to prohibit firearms.

Ison said Sapirman used an AR-15-style rifle during the shooting and that investigators found another one in the bathroom. They also found a handgun on Sapirman, who was wearing a waistband holster and had several magazines that contained more than 100 rounds of ammunition.

Although police don’t know a motive for the attack, Sapirman’s relatives told investigators that he recently received notice that he was being evicted from his apartment, though Ison said authorities were still trying to confirm that. Relatives also said Sapirman resigned from a warehouse job in May, he said.

“Right now we have no motive. His family members that we spoke to, they were just as surprised as everyone else was. They said there were no indicators that he was violent or unstable,” Ison said.

The chief said Dicken fired 10 rounds from his handgun, and that as he fired, Sapirman “attempted to retreat back into the restroom and failed, and fell to the ground after being shot.”

“He engaged the gunman from quite a distance with a handgun and was very proficient in that, very tactically sound. And as he moved to close in on the suspect, he was also motioning for people to exit behind him,” Ison said of Dicken.

Sapirman had no criminal record as an adult, the chief said.

Ison said officers recovered a cellphone from a toilet in the mall bathroom that they believe Sapirman placed there. At Sapirman’s apartment, they found a laptop and can of butane inside the oven, which was on and set to a high temperature, the chief said without elaborating.

The cellphone and the laptop, which was damaged by the oven’s heat, will be analyzed by the FBI, and that “we are very curious to have those analyzed,” he said.

Mark Myers, the mayor of Greenwood, a city of roughly 60,000 people just south of Indianapolis, said the grieving community is shocked to be the scene of a mass shooting.

“I don’t want to be among the mayors that has to share these statements. But sadly, I am,” he said. “I grieve for these senseless killings, and I ache for the scars that are left behind on the victims and on our community.”

Please enable JavaScript to view this content.

Story Continues Below

Editor's note: You can comment on IBJ stories by signing in to your IBJ account. If you have not registered, please sign up for a free account now. Please note our updated comment policy that will govern how comments are moderated.

19 thoughts on “Police release details of Greenwood mall shooting, including identities of shooter, ‘good Samaritan’

  1. I wish the media would quit publishing the names of these copycat/wack job shooters. Also, another example of a good buy with a gun stopping a bad guy with a gun. Thank you for your bravery, Elisjsha.

    1. Another example? I guess if you’re ok with three innocent lives being the cost for the “freedom” to own rifles then it’s just another day in America.

    2. I thank him for his bravery and amazing marksmanship at 40 yards, but to infer this supports “a good guy with a gun” rhetoric is ridiculous – just look where it got us at Uvalde.

    3. Nate, the “freedom” to own rifles isn’t stopping 3-4 people getting shot in Indianapolis virtually every day. And if you want to argue that it’s because Indy has loose gun regs, what about cities in the East Coast? NYC is turning back to the crime-ridden cesspool it was prior to Giuliani, and the neighboring states (NJ and CT) have just as strict of gun control measures in place as NY.

      The fellow may not quite be the textual definition of “Good Samaritan” (I’ll concede it’s a little weird to use that term), but definitely was a hero in the face of hardship.

      Without him stopping this homicidal lunatic, the food court at GPM might have looked like a typical neighborhood in Chicago.

    1. With all rights come responsibilities and limitations.

      I’m most curious to find about what training, if any, Dicken had when it came to how he engaged the shooter and handled the situation. By all reports he performed at a high level and handled someone who’d also been training with his weapon.

  2. Having trouble with the concept of evil, Nate R?

    How about the fellow in Waukesha WI who drove his SUV into the Christmas parade attendees last year, mowing down 6 people and injuring many others? Do we need laws preventing people from owning SUVs?

    1. Unironically, yes. There’s a strong correlation between the rise in SUV purchases and severe/fatal crashes. They’re dangerous, heavy vehicles with a high center of gravity, poor visibility, and rollover rates that are quadruple that of standard vehicles. They’re also fuel-guzzlers that contribute to pollution and over-exert demand for fuel. It would be a big benefit if we adopted policies that discouraged their use.

  3. A.T. you might want to consider moving to a place where there are no evil SUV’s, crime, pollution, or people who value freedom, liberty, and who love the constitution. Good luck finding it though … reality is sobering isn’t it and the fantasy of the liberal mind is very difficult to please.

    1. I’m not sure how SUVs and the Constitution are related. If you’re upset at me for pointing out statistics and suggesting that policy has real-world implications then…okay, I guess?

    2. You just described about half of Europe…. they just call their form of the constituting document by a different name…

    3. A T., are you so enamored with governance that you think the correct blend of policy will create a perfect society? If so, why has not a single country or civilization ever achieved this in recorded history?

      When your entire understanding of the world is that you have “Problem X, to be solved by Policy Y”, you are a top-downer, and to some degree, an authoritarian.

      I didn’t even know what a “stab vest” was until I saw a British TV show recently. Apparently they’re common apparel among certain immigrant communities in London. Because, while guns are virtually impossible to obtain in the UK, knives are easy. And people kill one another with knives to the point that London had a higher homicide rate than NYC for much of the 2010s…at least until de Blasio came and wrecked what had become a pretty livable city. In short, the anti-violence policies used in the UK might keep homicide levels well below our own, but English cities are crime-ridden cesspools. And in “ammo-sexual” rural America, they often go decades without a gun going off and people still leave their doors unlocked.

      It’s almost as though, regardless of what top-down policies we enact, humans might have volition–fancy that.

    4. Lauren, we already do these things. We have tons of policy that encourages the population to make certain decisions (zoning, tax incentives, taxation itself, etc. etc.). Using policy as a tool to guide behavior and encourage practices that are broadly beneficial to the public while shielding them from negative externalities (which we don’t do particularly well) is a common practice. Authoritarianism and incentivization are very different things, do not conflate the two.

      Also, your entire comment about England is, broadly, a fabrication. There was a very short, six week period of time in 2018 where rivaling gangs (yes, this happens but it’s a massive problem in the US whereas not so much in the UK) were going at each other and the violent crime rate per capita exceeded NYC, but that’s it. The “stab vest” stuff is nonsense. The only outlets pushing “stab vests” are British right-wing publications. Sounds like xenophobia to me.

    5. No society is perfect, but most of the developed world is better off than the United States when it comes to income, health, violent crime, transportation, housing, and so on. If you think we’re shielded from policy just because we’re Americans, I have bad news. Everything about our social structure, buildings, services, public safety, transportation network, healthcare system, and so on are direct outcomes of policy.

    6. Quote: No society is perfect, but most of the developed world is better off than the United States when it comes to income, health, violent crime, transportation, housing, and so on.

      So why are you still living here, A T?

  4. A T. – You believe in top-down solutions and you seek to lecture me about the joys and perfections of Europe.

    Since this country (that spins billions annually on social services) is so awful, it would be nice if you’d stand at the Rio Grande and let the “huddled masses, yearning to be free” know how our QOL is so bad. Maybe they’d stop wanting to come here and would return to their banana republics (held back economically, by and large, by failed leftism). It’s amazing to think, but one reason our stats are so “bad” is because we have a very poorly monitored influx of people and have for half-century. Social services can more easily match needs when you don’t have 10% of your population living under shadows and working under the table in the informal sector. Or when the overwhelming majority of your immigrant population isn’t poor and low-skill, as is the case in the US.

    Equally incidentally, now that your beloved Old Europe is suffering out of control immigration, it’s facing the exact same problems with a failure to deliver social services that align with citizen needs. Crime is up significantly, education standards are down, health care is deteriorating. Ever notice how graffiti seems to cover everything in Europe? It didn’t used to be that way… Same problems in Canada.

    Since you think the “stab vests” are nonsense, you probably ought to let British hip-hop stars like Stormzy know. Let me guess: you think the problem of grooming gangs targeting working-class white girls in heavily immigrant cities like Rotherham and Telford is also just “British right-wing publications”. If you don’t think gangs are a problem in UK and mainland Europe, then wow, your sillybilly news sources like the Grauniad are even more fore got than I thought. And, per usual, the only response you have: Xenophobia! LOL.

    With love,
    Lauren the Xenophobe.