Radio calls between police dispatchers and officers arriving on the scene of the shooting at the Clackamas Town Center began with a calm, startling message.
“Report of a person that’s shot “Report of a person that’s shot and getting a lot of calls on this. So far looks like this may be in the area of the food court now. Looks like it may be an actual active shooter,” said the calm dispatcher voice.
Immediately three officers in the area responded and began racing toward the mall.
It seemed hard to believe.
“Just confirming you said active shooter?” asked one officer over the radio. “Yeah, there’s one person that’s there’s a man with a rifle in the food court and he’s still shooting people,” the dispatcher replied with an even tone.
The first deputies were there in 60 seconds and confronted an amazing sight.
“We’re out here on foot and there are people bailing out like crazy from everywhere!” shouted one officer into his radio. It’s a vision that former Portland police officer Mike Davis remembers well.
“You have a large amount of people, you’re trying to quickly assess the situation,” said Davis remembering a terrifying shooting incident in 1996.
It happened inside the KOIN building and Davis was the first officer on the scene. He said chaos is the one constant.
“So now you have the prospect…did he change clothes? Did he dump the weapons the rifle and is he now blending in with the crowds with a handgun? A lot of scenarios are popping through your mind and you just know you gotta stay vigilant,” Davis said.
Radio traffic shows officers at the Clackamas mall quickly gained information from witnesses.
“Going into Macy’s the gun had jammed. There’s a mag out here fully loaded, into Macy’s is the last place he saw him go. He fired 10 to 15 rounds then the gun jammed on him,” said one officer over the air.
But then questions-- how many gunmen?
“Do we have any witnesses that would indicate more than one shooter?” asked an officer. “Multiple witnesses are making account of a single person,” answered another inside the mall. “Not sure how credible it was but somebody outside the movie theater said possible two shooters,” radioed another officer.
As police raced into the building they began to report back chilling images.
“Telling me the suspect was here. I’ve got multiple shell casings and one ‘1244’. I’ve got another ‘44R’ unknown victim east of me. Multiple people walking around,” called out another officer.
Then, 22 minutes after the first call, a police team found the gunman dead in a back hallway.
“S-1 down. Self-inflicted gunshot wound, 1244. Service corridor 2 right at the mall corridor doors,” said an officer “It was self-inflicted 1244?” asked another.
“Affirm and he has a hockey mask with him,” responded the first officer.