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CCSO: Mall shooter bought ammo, smoked pot before shooting spree

The Clackamas County Sheriff's Office announced the names of two friends of the suspect on Wednesday as part of its completion of an investigation into the Dec. 11 shootings at the Clackamas Town Center.

Among an estimated 8,000 to 10,000 people in the mall at the time, the victims that day were complete strangers. Steve Forsyth of West Linn and Portlander Cindy Yuille were killed, while 15-year-old Clackamas student Kristina Shevchenko recovered from serious injuries. As part of a seven-page report released on May 1, investigators confirmed Jacob Tyler Roberts, 22, of Portland, as the lone suspect. All evidence “consistently indicates” that the suspect acted alone in the shootings. But investigators revealed that he smoked marijuana with two friends in the lead-up to the shooting spree.

Roberts visited his friend Tyler Eheler, who lives two miles from mall at 3 p.m., just minutes before the shooting, when the two talked about Roberts leaving to Hawaii and smoked a small amount of marijuana.

Roberts stole the rifle used in the shooting from his friend Sean Cates who legally purchased it in 2011, the CCSO report revealed. Cates told investigators that he woke up on Dec. 11 at 4 p.m. to find the rifle gone, along with Roberts, who had also slept at Cates’ home, where he shared more marijuana. Cates apparently told a co-worker that the rifle was missing at 5 p.m. After the co-worker called Cates about the mall shootings, Cates reported the rifle missing to Portland Police at 7 p.m.

The suspect died at the scene as a result of a self-inflicted gunshot wound, and CCSO has not been able to determine a motive for his crime, despite investigators’ interviews with hundreds of witnesses as well as family members, co-workers and friends of the suspect.

The report also indicted that Roberts may have carefully planned the crimes. On Dec. 8, Roberts bought two 30-round AR-15 magazines from a local gun shop, then two 20-count boxes of .223 ammo, ear plugs and paper targets at a local big-box retailer. On Dec. 9, he bought two 30-round AR-15 magazines and paper targets from a sporting-goods store, then bought four 20-count boxes of .223 ammo and paper targets at a local big-box retailer. He also listed his car for sale on Craigslist that day, when his roommates returned from a weekend trip and were surprised to find him still still there. Roberts told his roommates he had partied on Friday night, and so overslept and missed his flight. However, Roberts added in that conversation that he still planned to go to Hawaii and said that he had switched his flight date to the next weekend.

While releasing the details of the investigation, County Sheriff Craig Roberts offered CCSO’s “sincere condolences” to the Forsyth, Yuille and Shevchenko families for the pain and losses they suffered, thanking them for their cooperation and understanding during the investigation.

“We also extend our thanks to all the citizens present at the Clackamas Town Center who helped their family, friends, co-workers, customers and strangers get to a place of safety when the violence erupted,” he said. “I also thank our many partners in public safety from around the region — first responders came to the mall with expedience, put themselves willingly into harm's way and stayed to provide assistance as long as they were needed.”

Clackamas Town Center’s management team and General Growth Properties had the foresight, he noted, to train with CCSO for an active-shooter situation in the mall.

“Preparing their staff and merchants for the worst possible situation not only showed responsible caretaking, but also set an example for the rest of our region and the nation,” he said.

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