Gunman opens fire at Clackamas Town Center, killing 2 before shooting himself

by: PMG PHOTO: CHRISTOPHER ONSTOTT  - Law enforcement officers from across the Portland area prepared to search Clackamas Town Center Tuesday afternoon after a shooting that killed two people, including a Lake Osweo High School graduate, and wounded at least one other person. The shooter killed himself. Two people were shot and killed and at least one other person was seriously wounded during a Tuesday afternoon attack at Clackamas Town Center's food court area.

The gunman is also dead, according to the Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office.

One of the victims was a West Linn resident who previously lived in Lake Oswego, graduating from Lake Oswego High School in 1985.

Killed in this Steven Mathew Forsyth attack were Cindy Ann Yuille, 54, a resident of northeast Portland, and Steven Mathew Forsyth, 45, of West Linn.

A 15-year-old girl, Kristina Shevchenko, was wounded in the shooting and taken by Life Flight to Oregon Health and Science University Hospital, where she was listed in serious condition.

Forsyth owned a marketing agency in Portland and formerly worked for Entercom Communications, which owns radio stations in the city. At the time of the shooting, he was at the mall where he owns a store with his wife, Carla Forsyth, and two children. A few days prior, he opened a kiosk, Coastoms, at the mall, selling handmade wooden coasters.

“Steven graduated the last year that I was principal at Lake Oswego High School,” said Bill Korach, Lake Oswego School District superintendent. “He was a good contributor, he was very actively involved, he played basketball, it was just a huge loss.”

Besides basketball, he was active as president of the school’s Fire Squad, which carried out safety procedures when school bells would ring.

The Forsyth family released a statement Wednesday morning. It read:

“Steven Mathew Forsyth was a loving husband, father of two children, son, brother, uncle, youth sports coach and friend to the many people who had the privilege to meet him.

“Steve was one of the most passionate people with a true entrepreneurial spirit that drove him to start his business, Coastoms. He had a great sense of humor and a zest for life. He had vision and a belief in others that brought great joy and value to many lives.

“He will be sorely missed by all who knew him.”

Dave Rogoway, of Lake Oswego, knew Forsyth from working with him at Entercom. He called Forsyth a model father and husband, adding that he was “a really bright fellow” and involved with his children.

Several people at KPAM radio station also knew and worked with Forsyth. In fact, Terry Boyd, of Terry Boyd’s World, was visiting with Forsyth at his kiosk in the mall less than an hour before the shooting occurred.

Boyd had worked with Forsyth for 10 years at Entercom and was currently working on a new project with him.

“Steve is one of those people who without any effort at all makes you a better person,” Boyd said. “He’s just a great guy. He lights up the room and he always puts others before him.”

Boyd recalled his energy, spirit and drive.

“I never ever heard that guy utter a bad word or a negative comment,” Boyd said.

Boyd said Forsyth was active in his church and was a martial artist, and he suspects Forsyth was acting heroically during the shooting.

“Chances are pretty good he was doing the right thing,” he said.

The mall was closed Tuesday evening and all day Wednesday as law enforcement investigated the shooting. The mall’s owners, General Growth Properties of Chicago, said the shopping center would remain closed during the investigation.

TriMet bus and MAX service to the Clackamas Town Center Transit Station was closed Tuesday after the shooting and all day Wednesday.

Police officers from Lake Oswego and West Linn were among the many police units assisting the sheriff’s office. Other agencies included officers from Portland, Milwaukie, Gladstone, Oregon City, Canby, Molalla, Woodburn, Sandy and the Oregon State Police.

The attack began at about 3:27 p.m., sending nearly 10,000 people scrambling for exits inside the two-level, 1.2 million-square-foot shopping center in suburban Clackamas County, about 12 miles from downtown Portland.

Only one gunman is suspected in the shooting, according to sheriff’s office spokesmen. Deputies said that at about 4:45 p.m. the shooter’s body and weapon were found inside the shopping center.

Jacob Tyler Roberts  The gunman, 22-year-old Jacob Tyler Roberts of Southeast Portland, apparently died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Police said he parked his 1996 Volkswagen Jetta outside of Macy’s, ran through the store and opened fire in the food court. After his gun jammed, he ran down a nearby service stairway, got his gun working again and killed himself, according to police.

Roberts was wearing a hockey-style facemask and a vest to hold extra ammunition for an AR-15 semi-automatic weapon he had stolen from a friend, police report. Law enforcement personnel found him dead in the stairwell 22 minutes after the first 911 call.

Sgt. Adams Phillips said law enforcement officers did not fire any shots during the incident. He added there was no apparent relationship between the shooter and victims, although the investigation is ongoing.

Gov. John Kitzhaber dispatched Oregon State Police Superintendent Rich Evens to the mall to help with the investigation. Kitzhaber praised the law enforcement effort to contain the incident and limit casualties.

“My thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families,” the governor said. “I appreciate the work of the first responders and their quick reaction to this tragic shooting.”

Sheriff’s deputies who arrived within minutes of the first reports on the shooting guided most people out of the mall. Some mall employees locked themselves in break rooms and other places inside the center’s more than 180 stores.

Ariel Lihs, a resident of Clackamas who works at the mall, said she heard shots, but thought at first that they were construction sounds. After seeing people flee Macy’s and Nordstrom in the northeast corner of the mall, she went directly to her fiance, Logan Young, who works at the mall’s Hannah Society.

“I got up and ran straight to Logan, and although we’ve been locked in for two hours, I’m glad I did, because we might not be together now,” she said.

One witness told reporters that the Roberts apparently entered the mall through a side door near Macy’s on the south side of the mall near the center of the main building. He ran through the mall before shooting.

Several minutes after the attack began, deputies shut the mall down and began searching for the gunman. At one point, there were more than 100 law enforcement officers from the surrounding areas in the mall.

Witnesses said hundreds of shoppers were told to get down on the floor of several stores shortly after the shooting began. Minutes later, they were told to leave the stores and the mall.

Art Idelbong, an Oregon Air National Guard member, was in the magazine section of the Barnes & Noble bookstore when he heard “loud pops and saw a flash coming from the hallway.”

“I looked across at the girl who was studying and we both had a puzzled look when another loud pop came from the hallway,” Idelbong said. “We both got up and headed for the front entrance after gathering our bags and umbrellas. Employees and other customers all were grabbing their possessions and heading for the front door.”

People said the crowded mall was chaotic as people began to leave the shopping center. Witnesses said they heard what sounded like firecrackers and then were warned to leave the center. Others described the sounds as loud bangs.

Pamplin Media Group reporters Steve Law, Raymond Rendleman, Lori Hall and Drew Dakessian contributed to this news story.

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