GREENWOOD, Ind. — Police are investigating a shooting at Greenwood Park Mall that happened around 6 p.m. Sunday.
Four people are dead and police tell 13News the shooter is among those killed.
Those killed are 56-year-old Pedro Pineda, his wife 37-year-old Rosa Mirian Rivera de Pineda and 30-year-old Victor Gomez. All died of multiple gunshot wounds, according to autopsy reports released July 19.
Police said the 20-year-old shooter had two rifles, a handgun and several magazines of ammunition, but he only used one of the rifles.
Police said the shooter entered the mall at 4:54 p.m. on July 17. He immediately entered the bathroom at the food court and stayed there for an hour and two minutes. His cell phone was found submerged in a toilet in the bathroom.
As the shooter left the bathroom, he began firing, causing chaos at the mall.
Police said the shooter fired 24 rounds during the shooting. People inside the mall at the time of the shooting told 13News reporter Logan Gay that they heard 20 gunshots in the food court. An IMPD spokesman said it appears shots were only fired in the food court area.
The shooter first shot and killed Gomez. Then he fired into the food court hitting and killing the Pinedas. He fired more shots into the food court area and wounded a 22-year-old woman in the leg and a bullet fragment hit a 12-year-old girl in the back.
"This has shaken us to our core. This isn't something we've seen in Greenwood before. It is absolutely horrendous," Greenwood Police Chief Jim Ison said. He went on to say that they have trained for active shooter situations like this and he was proud of the response from law enforcement.
Armed bystander hailed as hero
Greenwood PD said a review of surveillance video shows the suspect began firing at 5:56:48.
At 5:57:03 p.m., Elisjsha Dicken, an armed bystander, fired on the shooter from 40 yards away, according to police. Within 15 seconds from when the shooting began, Dicken fired 10 rounds hitting the shooter as the shooter tried to retreat into the bathroom but collapsed and died.
An autopsy found the shooter was shot eight times and none were self-inflicted.
Dicken had no police training or military background, according to police. He was carrying under the new "Constitutional Carry" law and did not have a permit. Police said Dicken learned to shoot from his grandfather and that he had no military or police training.
"His actions were nothing short of heroic. He engaged the gunman from quite a distance with a handgun. Was very proficient in that, was tactically sound and as he moved to close in on the suspect, he was also motioning for people to exit behind him," Ison said about Dicken's actions. "Many people would have died last night if not for a responsible armed citizen that took action very quickly within the first two minutes of this shooting."
Dicken has not yet spoken with the media about the shooting. However, his lawyer Guy A. Relford released a statement on Monday that said Dicken is waiting to speak about the shooting to respect the lives lost and the police's investigation.
The full statement can be read here:
"I am proud to serve as Eli Dicken's attorney and spokesperson. He is a true American hero who saved countless lives during a horrific event that could have been so much worse if not for Eli's courage, preparedness and willingness to protect others. Because we want to respect the ongoing criminal investigation by the Greenwood Police Department and take time to honor the three innocent lives lost, we won't be making any substantive comments on Sunday's events until after the authorities' investigation is closed. In the interim, we ask that you respect the privacy of Eli and his family."
On Wednesday, Relford tweeted that Dicken had a license to carry a handgun, which was issued Aug. 4, 2021. However, Dicken did not need the license because "constitutional or permitless carry" became law in Indiana on July 1.
On Sunday, Relford tweeted a photo alongside Dicken and said, "I'm very proud to be Eli Dicken's lawyer - and the more we discuss the horrifying events of Sunday, July 17 in the Greenwood Park Mall, the more I'm amazed at this young man's courage and performance under pressure. Simply amazing."
Investigation into the gunman
Police said the shooter left his job at a warehouse in May and police are investigating statements from the family saying he was set to be evicted from his apartment.
Greenwood PD said there is no information yet on a motive for the shooting. Police said they are not aware of any history of mental illness involving the shooter. His juvenile record included a fight at school and runaway incident. He has no criminal record as an adult.
People who knew the shooter said he had been shooting at a local gun range prior to the mass killing.
13News confirmed a search was conducted early Monday at a residence in the Polo Run Apartments in connection to the shooter. Police said they found the oven on at a high temperature and there was a laptop in it along with a can of butane.
Statements from state, local leaders
Greenwood Mayor Mark Myers released a statement on Facebook thanking the armed bystander. It reads in part:
"This person saved lives tonight. On behalf of the City of Greenwood, I am grateful for his quick action and heroism in this situation."
In an earlier statement, the mayor asked for "prayers to the victims and our first responders."
Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb issued a statement about the ongoing investigation on Monday:
“I join all Hoosiers in being grateful for the quick, heroic actions taken by an individual citizen and first responders on Sunday evening in Greenwood, surely preventing further loss of life and injuries. I stand with the community in grieving the loss of lives, and my thoughts are also with the many people impacted by this traumatic incident, including innocent bystanders whose lives are forever changed.”
13News has reached out to mall owner Simon Property Group for information on when the mall would reopen. A recording for the mall said it would be closed Monday, but it would be open for normal business on Tuesday. A statement to 13News Monday morning reads:
"We grieve for the victims of yesterday’s horrific tragedy in Greenwood. Violence has no place in this or any other community. We are grateful for the strong response of the first responders, including the heroic actions of the Good Samaritan who stopped the suspect."
13News also received a statement from the Indiana Latino Democratic caucus Monday.
They said the shooting is extremely personal for them, because all the victims were Latino.
They also question whether the shooting was a targeted act.
Mourning the victims
The lives of the three victims were remembered at a vigil Monday night at Resurrection Lutheran.
The church is only a few miles from the mall.
The congregation lit candles and prayed together.
The pastor said he wanted to bring the community together to heal after such a tragic event.
Timeline of events
13 Investigates has compiled a timeline of events for the mass shooting inside Greenwood Park Mall based on reports from Greenwood police and radio traffic from Johnson County emergency services agencies.
4:54 p.m. – The shooter entered the mall and went straight to a bathroom near the food court, according to Greenwood Police.
5:56:48 p.m. – The shooter emerged from the restroom and began shooting, killing three people and injuring several others, Greenwood Police report.
5:56 p.m. – Johnson County emergency dispatchers begin receiving phone calls from mall patrons and workers. “They’re advising there’s a male shooter. He’s possibly in the food court at this time. More than a dozen people,” the dispatcher reported.
5:56 p.m. – A police officer reports seeing people running out into the mall parking lot.
5:57 p.m. – An ambulance and other emergency response vehicles were dispatched to the mall.
5:57:03 p.m. – An armed mall patron engages the shooter by returning gunfire. Just 15 seconds after the shooting began, police say the shooter was killed. (Police would not learn the shooter was dead for several more minutes.)
5:57 p.m. – Dispatchers report receiving additional 911 calls about the shooting, including a description of a weapon. “We’re getting several calls from Johnson County. Possible active shooter at the Greenwood Park Mall. Several subjects. Possible AK-47,” said the dispatcher.
5:58 p.m. – Dispatchers share more information, including how many victims EMS crews might find inside the mall. “So far, possibly three. We’re still, our phone lines are still all lit up. We’re still just trying to gather information. They’re not hearing shots at this time. They’re possibly by the food court. So far, we’ve got at least three,” a dispatcher told EMS crews. A supervisor responds, “OK, give me three more ambulances,” and more paramedics and emergency vehicles are dispatched.
6:01 p.m. – Still unaware if a shooter is at large, emergency medical crews establish a command post and staging area in the parking lot, outside Von Maur and Dicks Sporting Goods.
6:06 p.m. – Based on confirmation from police, EMS declares the scene a “mass casualty” situation.
6:07 p.m. – Paramedics wait for police protection to enter mall food court area. “Ok, we’re not going in until we have police escorts, so just stage here,” a supervisor says, directing EMS crews to the parking lot staging area.
6:08 p.m. – EMS crews enter the building with a police SWAT team and establish a triage location outside the corridor to the mall food court.
6:14 p.m. – EMS reports three people are being transported to area hospitals and two victims were found to be dead on arrival. Another victim, who suffered head wounds while fleeing the shooting, is located outside the mall.
6:15 p.m. – EMS reports “all the patients in our immediate vicinity have been either tagged DOA or they’re now being transported.” They also report on the condition of the shooter. “We had a pulse. Now we don’t, but they’re going to go ahead and work him and transport him.”
6:17 p.m. – EMS crews are warned about a suspicious backpack found in the same mall bathroom where the shooter prepared to commit his crime. “Police are advising a backpack in the back bathroom, possibly a bomb. We’re going to evacuate the area,” a dispatcher announces.
6:18 p.m. – Police actively search all corridors in the mall, locating remaining civilians in the building and escorting them out while police determine if the backpack in the food court restroom contains any explosives.
The above timeline is based on police and first responder information released thus far.