GREENWOOD, Ind. (WISH) — Police are investigating to find out if online posts being attributed to the Greenwood mall shooter were made by him.
Screenshots taken from the controversial website 4chan are being attributed to 20-year-old Johnathan Sapirman, a man who fatally shot three people at Greenwood Park Mall before being shot and killed by Elisjsha “Eli” Dicken, an armed civilian who was at the mall with his girlfriend. Dicken fired 10 shots at Sapirman, striking him eight times. Dicken, 22, has been lauded as a hero for stopping the shooting. Dicken began firing at Sapirman 15 seconds after the rampage began. Police said Dicken was “proficient” and “very tactically sound” in his shooting.
The posts containing Nazi imagery were made Sunday afternoon, shortly before the shooting.
One of the photos shows a man and woman kissing at a wedding. A black-and-white version of the photo can be found online via a reverse Google Image search. A Russian website hosting the picture describes the photo as the wedding of a “Unterscharführer,” a rank in the Nazi SS. The SS bolts can be seen on the man’s uniform.
4chan has been cited as a breeding ground for hate and violent attacks. A man accused of killing 10 Black people at a Buffalo supermarket in May created a 180-page manifesto filled with racist imagery sourced from 4chan.
News 8 has asked police investigators about the posts.
“We are aware of the photos you are referring to. The Greenwood Police Department and FBI are working diligently to identify the source. When our investigation is complete we will issue an update. There is no time frame on this update as the investigation is ongoing,” Greenwood Police Department Chief James Ison said in an email to News 8’s Katiera Winfrey.
To date, police have not publicly released Sapirman’s motive. While police have not stated if Sapirman was motivated by hate, all three people killed by Sapirman were Hispanic. Pedro and Rosa Mirian Rivera de Pineda were a married couple originally from El Salvador. Victor Gomez was of Mexican heritage, according to friends who have spoken to News 8.
Police investigating at Sapirman’s apartment found a laptop and a can of butane in the oven. His cellphone was left inside a toilet at the mall. The cellphone and laptop have been turned over to an FBI forensic team.
Police have said Sapirman had a juvenile record but no criminal history as an adult. Greenwood’s police chief said the juvenile offenses included a fight a school and running away from home.
Sapirman had recently received an eviction notice, according to family member who spoke to police. He had also quit his warehouse job in May.
The mall was closed on Monday and reopened on Tuesday.