Monday, October 10, 2022

The Greenwood Park Mall Shooting

Elisha Dicken
The Kill Kit

By Robert A. Waters

On the afternoon of July 18, 2022, Jonathan Douglas Sapirman put in place his plan to slaughter dozens of innocents. He lived less than a half mile from his target, the Greenwood (Indiana) Park Mall. Before leaving his apartment, he flushed his cell phone down the toilet and placed his computer in the oven with a can of Butane gas. Turning the heat as high as it would go, Sapirman thought the ensuing fire and possible explosion would destroy his evil evidence.

Then he locked his apartment door and walked to the mall. Drivers on the highway may have seen him struggling with his heavy backpack as he trudged along, but no one knew he was toting a kill kit filled with guns and ammunition.

On reaching the mall, at 4:54 p.m., Sapirman walked directly to the bathrooms near the food court. Surveillance videos record him coming out one hour later. Investigators speculated that while in a rest room stall, he assembled and loaded his guns.

In addition to the Sig Sauer M400 rifle he used to shoot up the mall, police later found a second long gun and a handgun in his backpack as well as 100 rounds of ammunition. In addition, he wore a waist band holster containing several loaded magazines.

At 5:56 p.m., he stepped into the food court. From there, Sapirman had a panoramic view of dozens of people sitting at tables, standing in line ordering food, or merely wandering through the court.

Before anyone even noticed him, the blast of his rifle shattered the silence.

Within seconds, Sapirman had killed three people and wounded two others. Victor Gomez was first. He had been walking toward the rest room when the shooter encountered him. Pedro Pineda, 56, and his wife, Rosa Mirian Rivera de Pineda, 37, were eating when Sapirman gunned them down at their table. Sapirman also shot an unidentified woman in the leg, and a twelve-year-old girl suffered minor wounds when a bullet fragment ricocheted off a wall and struck her in the back.

He was just getting started.

As the horror of what was happening seared into the minds of customers and staff, panicked people began fleeing the scene.

What Sapirman didn’t expect was resistance. After all, the mall, owned by the Simon Property Group, was a "gun-free zone." It even had signs at the entrance warning shoppers not to carry weapons inside. Fortunately, one other customer decided to ignore that warning. (Police later stated that Elisha Dicken, 22, was carrying legally because of Indiana’s recently passed “constitutional carry” law.)

Standing with his girlfriend in front of Blondie’s Cookies, Dicken yelled for her to drop to the floor. Pushing her down, he then turned to face the shooter who was 30-40 yards away. Dicken pulled his Glock 9-millimeter semiautomatic pistol from his holster and steadied himself against a nearby column for support. Fifteen seconds after the shooter had begun his murderous campaign, Dicken took aim and fired ten rounds at him.

Caught by surprise, Sapirman fired one last shot into the food court, then turned to flee. But before he could make it back to the safety of the bathroom, he stumbled and fell.

The coroner later discovered the killer had been hit with eight rounds. Of the ten shots Dicken had fired, only two missed the target. When police arrived, Sapirman, who had shot 24 rounds, lay dead.

Little is known about Jonathan Douglas Sapirman. He had no police record and, unlike many mass shooters, had little presence on social media. Approximately a month earlier, he’d quit his job at a local warehouse. He seems to have holed up in his room at Polo Run Apartments until he received an eviction notice for failure to pay rent. Police suspect he was smoldering, maybe planning his revenge on humanity. He did, however, keep in touch with his family and seemed “cheerful” in the days leading up to the shootings.

Investigators and politicians of the community hailed Dicken as a hero. Greenwood mayor Mark Myers told reporters that [Dicken] "acted in seconds, stopped the attacker and saved countless lives."

Speaking about Dicken, Greenwood Police Chief James Ison spoke to reporters. "I will say his actions were nothing short of heroic," the chief said. "He engaged the gunman from quite a distance with a handgun. [He] was very tactically sound as he moved to close in on the suspect, he was also motioning for people to exit behind him. He has no police training and no military background."

Mall administrators issued the following statement to the press: "We grieve for the victims of yesterday's horrific tragedy at Greenwood Park Mall. 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."

Even though numerous local officials told reporters Dicken saved "countless lives," anti-gun groups weren't so kind.

A spokesperson for the Brady Project, commenting on the shooting, wrote: "We need sensible gun laws, not vigilante safety."

William Quartermaine wrote that "the shooting and deaths of three innocent victims along with the veneration of Dicken for murdering the shooter points to the deep social crisis and reactionary political developments in the United States." (My italics.)

NOTE: Sapirman's scheme to black out his computer content worked. Because of heat damage, cops were unable to retrieve any data from his laptop.