Mall massacre

Gunman at Trolley Square kills 5, wounds others before he's slain

Published: Friday, Feb. 16 2007 9:59 p.m. MST

Traumatized children sit in an ambulance at Trolley Square. Terrified shoppers and employees ran from the mall or took refuge in bathrooms and closets.

Michael Brandy, Deseret Morning News

A man went on a shooting rampage inside the Trolley Square mall, killing five people and wounding numerous others before dying in a shootout with police.

Eyewitnesses said the man first began shooting outside the mall at about 6:45 p.m. Monday, near the parking terrace.

"He was in the west parking lot, he came out from underneath. I looked and I said, 'That guy has a gun!'" said Ron Mason, who was sitting by the windows of the Desert Edge Brewery. "I saw him pump and shoot a couple of rounds when he's coming from the parking lot into the building."

Inside the mall, chaos erupted.

"I saw a guy run in the hallway in front of our store, and he stopped, kind of ran back. People were yelling and screaming, and I heard glass break," said Marie Smith, who is a clerk at Bath and Body Works on the first level.

Shaking, she described watching a girl die in front of her.

"He turned and there was a girl standing in front of our store. He shot her. I saw him shoot her," she said, her voice trembling. "She's dead."

Smith said she ducked behind a counter as the man went running toward the Pottery Barn Kids store. More gunfire was heard. Customers in the store locked themselves in a bathroom.

Restaurants inside the mall were packed Monday night with people eating dinner. JoAnne Mayo and her mother were leaving the Spaghetti Factory on the second level when they heard the shots and saw the man.

"He just stood there, and he was shooting," Mayo said.

Brad Merrill was waiting with his son outside the restaurant when he said the shooter ran up the stairs and "blew the doors and windows off." Inside the restaurant, people huddled in corners.

Cedric Wilson was working at the Rodizio Grill when he heard shots. He said he walked outside to see what the commotion was about when he encountered the gunman, who was still on the first floor.

"I looked down, and I saw him, and he pointed the gun at me and shot twice," Wilson said. "I dropped to the ground as soon as I heard the shot."

One of the shotgun blasts grazed his head, taking out a small chunk of hair.

Antique-shop owner Barrett Dodds was on the second floor when he heard the shots and ran down the hall, telling people to shut their doors.

"I see him still down there, still shooting away. I see another guy creeping up," Dodds said. "I make eye contact with him, and I'm pointing at the first guy. The second guy says 'Ogden City Police Department.' So I kind of direct him to where he (the shooter) was."

Witnesses said the off-duty Ogden police officer exchanged gunfire with the man in the main corridor of the mall. Salt Lake City police officers arrived a short time later and confronted the man near the Cabin Fever card shop.

Matt Lund, who was hiding with his wife in a shop, said he heard several officers yell, "Police! Drop your weapon!" There was a pause, and then a shotgun blast.

"I definitely heard the shotgun first, then I heard a barrage of gunfire," he said.

Salt Lake City Police Detective Robin Snyder said the shooter was killed.

"We're just trying to figure out where it started and why this happened," she said Monday night. "There was one shooter. We have no indication that anyone else was involved in this. That shooter is dead."

Eyewitnesses described the shooter as white, in his 20s, about 6 feet tall, with brown hair. He was wearing a tan overcoat and a backpack.

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