By MICHAEL CONROY
GREENWOOD, Ind. (AP) Three people were killed and two were wounded after a man walked into a suburban Indianapolis shopping mall and opened fire before an armed civilian shot and killed him, authorities said.
The assailant, whose name and possible motive haven’t been made public, walked into the Greenwood Park Mall with a rifle and several magazines of ammunition shortly before it closed at 6 p.m. Sunday and began firing in the food court, Greenwood police Chief Jim Ison said at a news conference.
A 22-year-old man from nearby Bartholomew County shot and killed the gunman, Ison said. The investigation is ongoing, and authorities haven’t said whether all of the victims were shot by the attacker or whether some might have been caught in the crossfire. Authorities are expected to release further details of the investigation at a news conference later Monday.
“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,” said Ison, who didn’t disclose details about the civilian, including whether the person was exempt from the mall’s ban on people carrying weapons on the 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.
The attack Sunday was just the latest in a string of mass shootings in the U.S. Schools, churches, grocery stores and a July Fourth parade near Chicago have all become killing grounds in recent months, though the country’s staggering murder rate can often be seen more clearly in individual killings that rarely make major headlines.
Four of the mall shooting victims were female and one was male, Ison said. He didn’t immediately know the sexes or ages of those who were killed. The 12-year-old girl and the other wounded person were in stable condition, he said.
Police confiscated a suspicious backpack that was in a bathroom near the food court, Ison said.
Indianapolis Metropolitan Police and multiple other agencies were assisting in the investigation.
“We are sickened by yet another type of incident like this in our country,” Indianapolis Assistant Chief of Police Chris Bailey said.
Mark Myers, the mayor of Greenwood, a suburb of about 60,000 people south of Indianapolis, asked the public to pray for the victims and for first responders.
“This tragedy hits at the core of our community,” Myers said in a statement.
Greenwood Park Mall said in a statement that its grieves for the victims and praised first responders as well as the “heroic actions” of the 22-year-old who police said killed the gunman. The mall was closed Monday.
“Violence has no place in this or any other community,” the mall said.