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.
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.”