Shoppers set to return to Oregon mall days after fatal shooting

Friday, December 14, 2012 - 9:00am

For three days, Clackamas Town Center has been a crime scene.

On Friday, it will be a shopping mall, once again.

Yet the Oregon shopping center's scheduled 9 a.m. reopening -- announced on its Facebook page -- does not close the books on the many questions tied to Tuesday's fatal shooting.

Investigators have identified Jacob Tyler Roberts, 22, as the man responsible for the bloodshed and panic at the mall, located in the community of Happy Valley, about 10 miles southeast of Portland.

Wearing a load-bearing vest and hockey mask, Roberts used a semi-automatic rifle to shoot three people on the mall's second floor, killing two of them, according to authorities. He then ran down a corridor and back hallway that led downstairs.

It was there, police say, that Roberts took his own life with a gunshot to the head.

The one shooting victim who didn't die of her injuries, Kristina Shevchenko, remained in Oregon Health & Science University Hospital on Thursday. The 15-year-old suffered a collapsed right lung and injuries to her liver after being shot in the chest, Dr. Laszlo Kiraly told reporters Wednesday.

She was in serious condition Thursday, as she had been the day before, said Todd Murphy, a spokesman for the Portland hospital.

Authorities haven't offered more insights publicly, meanwhile, into the man they say shot Shevchenko, 54-year-old Cindy Ann Yuille and 45-year-old Steven Mathew Forsyth. Yuille died of a single shot to the back, and Forsyth of one shot to his head, Oregon Deputy Medical Examiner Chris Young said Thursday in a news release.

No motive has been given to explain why Roberts did what he did.

On his Facebook page, Roberts describes himself as a "pretty funny person that takes sarcasm to the max." The central image is a "Follow Your Dreams" slogan painted on a wall and stamped "Cancelled" in red -- a work by famed street artist Banksy.

The woman who raised Roberts after his mother died of cancer when he was 2 described him as "fun and caring" and a "totally cool dude." Choking back tears, she called Tuesday's shooting "completely out of character" and apologized for the pain and panic Roberts had caused.

"Never could I imagine him being part of something like this," Tami Roberts, his biological aunt -- though she referred to herself as his mother -- told CNN affiliate KPTV. "What Jake did was wrong but, as his mother, he will always be in my heart. I love him very much."

The woman described the suspected gunman as fun-loving and adventurous while growing up. Roberts planned to "be a hero" and join the Marines, Tami Roberts said. But that dream was dashed when he broke his foot at age 17, and "he lost purpose."

The two hadn't spoken in about four years, after they had a "falling out ... because he didn't want to get up and look for a job ... and he got really depressed and he got really angry." After that, Tami Roberts said she thought of him daily and still loved him deeply -- even though she can't explain his actions.

"Every day of my whole life, I was proud of him," she said. "I'm just not proud of him right now."

Staffers at Oregon City High School, where Roberts helped out in the school's counseling department before his graduation, are trying to come to grips with what happened.

"I found him to be a very polite young man, soft-spoken, nice smile," said Arnold Bunting, a counseling department staffer. "And I'm just really surprised that somebody with his personality would end up doing something like this."

The Oregon Department of Justice is offering "to help pay for at least 10 counseling sessions" for those rattled by Tuesday's shooting.

In its post announcing stores will reopen Friday, Clackamas Town Center stressed it won't forget all those affected by the violence -- from Yuille, Forsyth and Shevchenko to the scores of others who saw their holiday shopping devolve into chaos. A candlelight vigil is planned for 7 p.m. Friday at a mall entrance.

"Please continue to keep the victims, their families and the entire community in your prayers during this difficult time," the mall said.

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CNN's Dan Simon reported on this story from Oregon, and Greg Botelho reported and wrote from Atlanta. CNN's Amanda Watts contributed to this report.
 

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