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Armed citizen at Greenwood mall hailed as hero who saved lives

UPDATE: The Johnson County Coroner’s Office has finished conducting autopsies. Victims Pedro Pineda, Rosa Mirian Rivera de Pineda and Victor Gomez all died of multiple gunshot wounds. Shooter Jonathan Sapirman was shot eight times, none of them were self-inflicted. Greenwood’s police chief has corrected a previous statement, saying Dicken struck Sapirman 15 seconds after Sapirman began shooting. The chief mistakenly said it was 2 minutes during a Monday press conference.

GREENWOOD, Ind. (WISH) — A Bartholomew County man repeatedly has been hailed as the hero who saved lives in the late Sunday afternoon mass shooting at the Greenwood Park Mall.

A husband, his wife and another man died, and Elisjsha Dicken fired his Glock handgun 10 times to take out the shooter before more people were hurt, the Greenwood police chief said Monday.

The three Indianapolis residents who died were Pedro Pineda, 56; Rosa Mirian Rivera de Pineda, 37; and Victor Gomez, 30.

Greenwood Mayor Mark Myers of Greenwood said of Dicken, “We’re very thankful for a young 22-year-old man who stopped this violent act. This young man, Greenwood’s Good Samaritan, acted within seconds, stopping the shooter and saving countless lives. Our city, our community and our state is grateful for his heroism in this situation.”

“He’s a young man processing a lot. I ask that you give him space and time to process what he’s gone through last night,” the Republican mayor continued.

Greenwood Police Chief Jim Ison at a Monday afternoon news conference described the interaction between the armed citizen and the active shooter, 20-year-old Jonathan Sapirman, of Greenwood.

Dicken was at the mall shopping with his girlfriend when the shooting began.

Within the first 15 seconds of the shooting, Ison said, “At 5:57 p.m., the shooter was confronted by our Good Samaritan…. The Good Samaritan was armed with a pistol and engaged the shooter as he stood outside the restroom area firing into the food court. The shooter (Dicken) fired several rounds striking the suspect. The suspect attempted to retreat back into the restroom and fell to the ground after being shot.”

Ison told the assembled media representatives that Dicken “is requesting you give him time to process and to grieve before reaching out to him.”

The chief said Dicken was carrying a gun legally under the “constitutional carry” law.

Ison said he watched the surveillance video, which will not be released because of its graphic content, and called Dicken’s actions “nothing short of heroic.”

“He engaged the gunman from quite a distance with a handgun. It was very proficient in that, very tactically sound, and, as he moved to close in on the suspect, he was also motioning for people to exit behind him. He has, to our knowledge, no police training and no military background,” the police chief said.

Eric Holcomb, Indiana’s Republican governor, weighed in with a statement on Monday. “I join all Hoosiers in being grateful for the quick, heroic actions taken by an individual citizen and first responders on Sunday evening in Greenwood, surely preventing further loss of life and injuries. I stand with the community in grieving the loss of lives, and my thoughts are also with the many people impacted by this traumatic incident, including innocent bystanders whose lives are forever changed.”

Guy A. Relford, a lawyer with offices in Carmel, says he’s been hired to serve as Dicken’s attorney and spokesperson. A post made Monday on the law firm’s Facebook page says of Dicken, “He is a true American hero who saved countless lives during a horrific event that could have been so much worse if not for Eli’s courage, preparedness and willingness to protect others. Because we want to respect the on-going criminal investigation by the Greenwood Police Department and take time to honor the three innocent lives lost, we won’t be making any substantive comments on Sunday’s events until after the authorities’ investigation is closed. In the interim, we ask that you respect the privacy of Eli and his family.”

Greenwood Park Mall, which is expected to reopen Tuesday, lists “no firearms or illegal weapons” in its Code of Conduct. But in a statement posted on Facebook on Monday, the mall says, “We grieve for the victims of yesterday’s horrific tragedy at Greenwood Park Mall. Violence has no place in this or any other community. We are grateful for the strong response of the first responders, including the heroic actions of the Good Samaritan who stopped the suspect.”

This story was updated to correct the last name of the Greenwood police chief.

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