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Three people dead in Oregon mall shooting spree, including gunman (VIDEO, PHOTOS)

Published time: December 12, 2012 03:02
Edited time: December 12, 2012 15:19

Member of a SWAT team wait outside the Clackamas Town Center after a shooting on December 11, 2012 in Clackamas, Oregon (Craig Mitchelldyer / Getty Images / AFP)

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An unknown gunman has shot dead two people after opening fire in an Oregon mall full of holiday shoppers. Police say the assailant took his own life following the attack.

Clackamas County sheriff's Lt. James Rhodes said two people were fatally shot and a young woman сritically wounded at the Clackamas Town Center in Clackamas, Oregon, on Tuesday afternoon.

The injured victim was taken to hospital by helicopter and her condition remains serious.   

The gunmen yelled out “I am the shooter”  before firing up to 60 shots from what witnesses said was an assault-style rifle. The attacker appeared to be a tall and slender teenager wearing all black camouflage with a white hockey mask, KATU television station has quoted eyewitnesses as saying.

Hundreds of shoppers were evacuated from the mall when the gunman opened fire in the food court around 3.30 pm local time. Many hid behind counters or in nearby shops.

“We heard people running back here screaming, yelling '911’,” Kayla Sprint, who was at the mall for a job interview told AP. Sprint took cover in the back room of a store.

It is not clear how long the shooting lasted, but some people hid for as long as two hours, fearing that there might be another gunman on the premises.

“I had left my phone at home. I was telling people to call 911. Surprisingly, people are around me, no one was calling 911. I think people were in shock,” Tiffany Turgetto, another witness to the incident said.

Law enforcement officers had not fired any shots after arriving on the scene.

Wednesday's attack is the latest in a string of shooting sprees that hit the US this year. In July, 12 people were shot dead by 24-year-old James Holmes during the screening of “Batman” in Colorado. The following month seven people were killed and twenty injured after a gunman stormed a Sikh temple in Oak Creek, Wisconsin.

America sees 20 mass shootings a year on average, with the number of dead currently approaching a hundred for 2012, according to the official statistics.

A police officer and firefighter speak to a woman outside the Clackamas Town Center after a shooting on December 11, 2012 in Clackamas, Oregon (Craig Mitchelldyer / Getty Images / AFP)
A police officer and firefighter speak to a woman outside the Clackamas Town Center after a shooting on December 11, 2012 in Clackamas, Oregon (Craig Mitchelldyer / Getty Images / AFP)
Emergency vehicles gather outside the Clackamas Town Center mall after a shooting on December 11, 2012 in Clackamas, Oregon (Craig Mitchelldyer / Getty Images / AFP)
Emergency vehicles gather outside the Clackamas Town Center mall after a shooting on December 11, 2012 in Clackamas, Oregon (Craig Mitchelldyer / Getty Images / AFP)
Memeber of a SWAT team wait outside the Clackamas Town Center after a shooting on December 11, 2012 in Clackamas, Oregon (Craig Mitchelldyer / Getty Images / AFP)
Memeber of a SWAT team wait outside the Clackamas Town Center after a shooting on December 11, 2012 in Clackamas, Oregon (Craig Mitchelldyer / Getty Images / AFP)
A police officer talks to people outside the Clackamas Town Center after a shooting on December 11, 2012 in Clackamas, Oregon (Craig Mitchelldyer / Getty Images / AFP)
A police officer talks to people outside the Clackamas Town Center after a shooting on December 11, 2012 in Clackamas, Oregon (Craig Mitchelldyer / Getty Images / AFP)