The Straits Times
Published on Dec 13, 2012

US mall shooting could have been 'much worse'


LOS ANGELES (AFP) - A gunman who killed two people at a US mall before taking his own life could have wreaked "much worse" havoc, but his rifle jammed, police said on Wednesday a day after the latest US random shooting.

Officers named the shooter, who wore a hockey-style mask as he opened fire in a crowded pre-Christmas mall and had several full magazines of ammunition to re-load his stolen semi-automatic AR-15 rifle, as Jacob Tyler Roberts, 22.

"This was a heartbreaking tragedy by any standards," said Clackamas County Sheriff Craig Roberts, giving a blow-by-blow account of the shooting Tuesday near a Macy's department store in Clackamas, south of Portland, Oregon. But he said: "We need to be thankful that this incident wasn't much worse."

"It appears that the suspects rifle did jam when he was attacking individuals" in a food court, he noted. Nearly 100 officers swarmed into the mall after multiple 911 emergency calls reported a gunman on the loose, he said, praising the "level-headed" response of an estimated 10,000 people in the shopping centre at the time.