GREENWOOD, Ind. — From the first gunshots to when police cleared the Greenwood Park Mall of any threats, multiple agencies worked to ensure the mall was empty.
According to the Simons Malls website, the Greenwood Park Mall has more than 150 stores, is 1,288,000 square feet and is the second biggest regional mall in all of Indiana.
Former FBI Indianapolis Special Agent In Charge and current Cofounder of Phaktor LLC, Paul Keenan, said a scene of this size presents a tall task for first responders.
”Because of all the different stores and all of the different nooks and crannies you’re going to be searching for people in,” Keenan said. “My first thought is this is going to take multiple teams from multiple agencies.”
At the scene, Greenwood Police Chief James Ison said SWAT teams from Greenwood PD, State Police and IMPD worked to clear the mall of any threats.
In newly released audio from the moments and hours after law enforcement responded to shooting, we’re getting an inside look at how police operated.
”Alright we got multiple people running through the parking lot now. They are advising there is a male shooter possibly in the food court,” this came in over police radios just seconds after shots were first fired.
You could then hear officers heading into the Greenwood Park Mall.
”Lets get some crime scene tape in here.”
In the first few minutes, you hear officers securing the scene at the food court and then fanning out.
”All units at the Greenwood Park Mall we have units that are actively searching every corridor.”
At the same time, people are cowering in closet, back rooms and hallways. Calling 911 to let them know where they are.
”They tried to barricade the door in the back of a shoe store,” said one person calling into the Johnson County 911 Center.
Keenan said the search throughout the large mall would have to be very methodical.
”They each would have a sector to clear, or a certain number of stores to clear,” Keenan said.
As the operation goes on, Keenan said law enforcement would always have to be ready.
”Just seeing that there is only one shooter doesn’t mean that there isn’t someone hiding that was an accomplice,” Keenan said.
He said it’s not just physically exhausting, but mentally too. Responders have to be ready for a threat while searching for innocent civilians.
“They have to be prepared for the civilians popping out and really, really be careful about what their actions are when they see people coming out,” Keenan said.
Teams searched the mall multiple times, continually getting communication on where people were hiding.
”I believe they’re in the hallway, I’ve got 10 civilians and a baby still hiding,” said dispatch during the search.
As law enforcement cleared a store or area, officers would check back in with dispatch to let them know.
”Be advised Barnes and Noble is clear.”
Officers did not leave any area untouched.
”We have units on the mall roof right now.”
Law enforcement is still searching for a motive to this shooting. Greenwood Police Chief James Ison said Greenwood PD met with the FBI again Wednesday. The FBI is handling search warrants for the shooter’s social media and analyzing the shooter’s laptop and cell phone.
The cell phone was found in a toilet in the Greenwood Park Mall and the laptop was found in the shooter’s oven with the temperature on high.
Keenan said if there is something to be recovered off those devices the FBI has the best technology to do it.