Holiday shopping came to a sudden and terrifying halt on Tuesday afternoon at the Clackamas Town Center in Happy Valley, Oregon when a gunman shot three people, killing two, and eventually killed himself.
Jacob Tyler Roberts, age 22, was identified as the lone suspect at a press conference on Wednesday by investigators. There does not appear to be a connection between Roberts and any of the victims. The question of motive may always remain unanswered.
Among the dead are Cindy Ann Yuille, age 54, and Steven Matthew Forsyth, age 45. Yuille is remembered as “everybody’s friend” who put others first. Forsyth had two children, a great sense of humor and a zest for life. Kristina Shevchenko, age 15, was taken to the Oregon Health & Science University Hospital, where she was in serious, but stable condition. She received a bullet wound to her chest and suffered a collapsed right lung and injuries to her liver. She underwent an hour-long surgery on Tuesday to remove bullet fragments and remained in intensive care on Wednesday. Her doctor was optimistic about her recovery, but added that she was in shock and at risk for complications, including infection.
Apparently the scene unfolded quickly when Roberts entered the mall through the second floor of Macy’s and headed towards the food court where he opened fire. Police arrived within one minute of the first call, which investigators believe may have affected Roberts’ ultimate course of action. Roberts was said to be wearing a load-bearing vest, which is a military-style item designed to carry heavy equipment and which some witnesses apparently confused with a bullet-proof vest, and carrying a semi-automatic rifle.
Friends of Roberts were shocked to learn that he was the gunman. Erin Philpot, a friend of Roberts, said “He was a very loved individual that always seemed as if he had great intentions and a heart of gold…I don’t know what caused him to do such a horrendous, terrible thing, but I do hope that somehow answers will be available to us all.” Philpot attended middle school and high school with Roberts. She had just had drinks with Roberts in November and said he had recently broken up with a girlfriend and was considering moving to Hawaii. He had just moved into a new place and was “totally stoked about it.” Jordan Salazar, who attended Milwaukie High School with Roberts said “He was a really nice guy, and it’s completely shocking he did this.” “He was a popular guy in high school and had a lot of friends.”
Roberts attended Milwaukie High School for three year, but did not graduate from the school, according to the director of community relations for North Clackamas County School District. He was of “average talent, average grades;” he was in a mainstream program and had no record of discipline issues or extracurricular activities. After three years, Roberts had transferred to another district where he attended Oregon City High School and graduated in 2008.