GREENWOOD, Ind. — Investigators are working to learn whether there was any motive behind a mass shooting that left three victims dead and two others injured, before the suspected gunman was killed by a bystander, identified as a man from Seymour.
“Many more people would have died last night if not for a responsible armed citizen that took action very quickly in the first two minutes of the shooting,” said Greenwood Police Chief James Ison. “His actions were nothing short of heroic.”
Police are hailing 22-year-old Elisjsha, or Eli Dicken, a ‘Good Samaritan,’ who they said unquestionably prevented further casualties when he took down the shooter, who had already fired dozens of shots.
On Monday afternoon, local, state and federal authorities met to discuss the investigation and share the identities of the victims killed in the attack.
According to the Johnson County Coroner’s Office, their office worked jointly with the Marion County Coroner’s Office to positively identify the victims and suspect after Sunday’s mass shooting.
Due to several victims being transported to hospitals in Indianapolis, the investigations into their deaths are being handled by both coroners offices, respectively. The autopsies for the victims as well as the shooter are scheduled for Tuesday, officials confirm.
The victims killed when the shooter opened fire in the food court have been identified as Victor Gomez, 30, of Indianapolis, Pedro Pineda, 56, of Indianapolis and his wife Rosa Mirian Rivera de Pineda, 37.
Authorities said mall security cameras captured nearly everything, and upon reviewing the footage, they were able to determine a timeline of events before and during the shooting.
According to police, the shooter emerged from the restroom about one hour and two minutes after he was observed on surveillance going in. When he came out, police said the suspect opened fire, hitting Gomez, who was outside of the restroom.
Greenwood police confirmed to CBS4 that Gomez was also armed with a handgun, however, he never had the chance to defend himself or others before the shooter walked out and begin firing. Authorities said Gomez was outside of the restroom when he was shot.
According to authorities, the shooter pointed a Sig Sauer M400 semi-automatic rifle into the food court, where Pedro and Rosa were eating dinner, and shot the couple as well as a 22-year-old woman, who is recovering from a gunshot wound to her leg at a local hospital.
CBS4 spoke with Oscar Maldonado, who said he lived next door to Rosa and Pedro for many years, and described them as a kind, friendly couple.
“They were me and my younger sister’s babysitter, so we’ve known them for the majority of our life,” said Maldonado. “They were really nice people. They were like another family for us.”
Maldonado described Rosa as motherly and nurturing. He said she was always there for him and his sister whenever they needed. The news that they lost their lives in the mass shooting stunned his family and other neighbors in the apartment complex where they said the Pinedas used to live.
“My mom found out in the morning. I just felt really empty, I was in disbelief. I’m like, they’re like two of the most caring people you could ever meet. They were so nice and stuff,” Maldonado shared.
“My mom saw them like two weeks ago,” said Maldonado. “She said that her and her husband would just go to the mall, get some supper and maybe walk around and stuff like that.”
Maldonado’s father, Miguel Palma, teared up as he shared how Rosa often waved to her neighbors from her balcony in the morning.
“They were really humble, and I do believe that even though they both passed away, that they went happily” said Maldonado.
In addition to the victims killed and woman injured, a 12-year-old girl named Bella was also struck by shrapnel in her back, according to authorities. She suffered minor injuries and is expected to recover.
“We are so, so grateful, so grateful, and I feel so horrible for the people who did not get to have their family under their roof last night, and we did. We’re so lucky, so lucky,” said Bella’s mother, Alison Dick.
A vigil for the victims of the Greenwood mall shooting and the Beech Grove park shooting was held at Resurrection Lutheran Church on Monday night.