PORTLAND, Ore. — The gunman responsible for killing two people at a crowded Ore. shopping mall said he wanted to be a firefighter, reports say.
Gunman Jacob "Jake" Roberts described himself on his Facebook page as being a "pretty funny person that takes sarcasm to the max" and at 22, having already "lived one crazy life so far."
Roberts' ex-girlfriend Brittany Curry, who dated him for five months in 2011, told CNN that being a firefighter was Roberts' dream and that he was taking classes at a community college.
Gunfire rang out in the mall food court, instantly transforming a casual afternoon of holiday shopping into a nightmare. Roberts was armed with a rifle and was dressed in dark clothing and wore a hockey-style face mask.
As panicked shoppers fled for cover, workers ushered some into hiding places within stores, or helped them to the exits. The first officers to arrive formed groups and rushed into the chaos, rather than waiting for the more heavily armed SWAT team.
"If we would have run out, we would have ran right into it," said Kaelynn Keelin, who saw a window get shot out and, along with other Made In Oregon co-workers, pulled customers into the store for shelter.
The quick mobilization of mall workers and police reflects the reality that, while mass shootings are rare, they have forced authorities to rehearse for such outbreaks of violence as if they are the norm.
"This could have been much, much worse," Clackamas County Sheriff Craig Roberts said.
Roughly 10,000 people were inside the Clackamas Town Center on Tuesday afternoon, when police say Jacob Tyler Roberts, 22, armed himself with an AR-15 semiautomatic rifle he stole from someone he knew, and went on a rampage that left two people dead, before he shot and killed himself.
A motive has not been determined.