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.
"He was reloading," Dodds said. "He would squeeze off two while he had one on the chamber. He would reload so it was never empty."
Dodds said it looked to him like the gunman was "hunting" people, raising his gun to aim at people.
"His expression seemed totally calm," Smith said.
Others said that outside the mall, the man looked angry.
Detectives were working late into the night to learn the identity of the shooter and piece together everything that happened. While Salt Lake City police released few details of the murders on Monday night, Ogden police confirmed to the Deseret Morning News that one of their officers fired on the gunman inside the Trolley Square mall.
Inside the mall, broken glass was everywhere. Lund said he saw many empty shotgun shells and a woman lying face down near the Pottery Barn Kids store. A man's body was in the main hallway.
Paramedics and firefighters rushed to treat the wounded. Outside the mall, a young woman was seen being hurried into an ambulance. Blood ran down her face as paramedics held an oxygen mask to her.
At least two people were taken to University Hospital in critical condition. Hospital spokesman Chris Nelson said a 50-year-old man was undergoing surgery and a 16-year-old was being evaluated. The hospital put its emergency room in lockdown as a precaution, bringing in extra security officers.
At LDS Hospital, one person is listed in critical condition, another in serious condition.
Hospitals had placed themselves on "massive casualty alert," Intermountain Healthcare spokesman Jess Gomez said Monday.
"We prepared our trauma team to receive a significant number of patients," he said. "However, we've just received the two."
A spokeswoman for Salt Lake Regional Medical Center said one person was brought to their hospital from the scene for observation, but was not injured.6 comments on this story
Police officers in full SWAT gear went through the mall, discovering more and more frightened people huddling in back rooms, dressing rooms, closets, bathrooms and anywhere else they could hide. One group of people locked themselves in a freezer to stay safe.
Yellow crime scene tape surrounded the entire mall and people were forced onto the sidewalks along 500 South and 700 East."This whole four-block area is a crime scene right now," Snyder said. "It's a huge area. There were a lot of people inside."