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Toll in Oregon mall shooting could have been higher, sheriff says

December 12, 2012|By Amy Hubbard

As Oregon reeled from Tuesday's pre-Christmas shootings at the Clackamas Town Center shopping mall, Clackamas County Sheriff Craig Roberts said the body count in the rampage could have been higher.

Early Wednesday, Roberts told NBC's "Today" show that the as-yet-unidentified masked gunman had "a mission set forth to take the lives of people in that mall."

"A variety of things" helped reduce the loss of lives, he said, including the gunman's weapon jamming. The gunman shot and killed two people, seriously wounded a 15-year-old girl and then took his own life.

Authorities have identified the shooter but have not released his name to the public. The sheriff's office has set a news conference for 10 a.m. Pacific time. The sheriff's office also on Wednesday morning tweeted the number for the Disaster Distress Helpline for "those stressed in the wake" of the shootings.

On Wednesday morning, Oregon Health and Science University Hospital in Portland identified the lone survivor as Kristina Shevchenko, who remained hospitalized in serious condition.

In Tuesday's terrifying incident, the masked gunman stormed into the crowded food court of the Portland-area mall and opened fire, shouting, "I am the shooter," according to witnesses.

Two people were killed and Shevchenko seriously injured before the gunman shot himself, authorities and witnesses said.

Christmas music was playing in the mall when the gunfire erupted, one witness told local media. Another said the mall Santa had to drop to the floor to take cover. More than 10,000 shoppers were in the 185-store mall at the time, officials said.

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