Greenwood, IN – Police are investigating a series of online posts that were allegedly made by the gunman before he opened fire in a mall food court in Indiana on Sunday in an effort to determine a motive for his rampage.
Pictures of 20-year-old Jonathan Sapirman posing with guns and wearing a tactical vest loaded with magazines of ammunition were allegedly uploaded to 4chan shortly before the shooting, WISH reported.
Posts that contained Nazi imagery were also uploaded by the same user.
“We are aware of the photos you are referring to,” Greenwood Police Chief James Ison told WISH in an email. “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,” Chief Ison added.
Police have not released a motive for the shooting that left three people dead and two more wounded, WISH reported.
All three of the people who died were Hispanic and investigators are trying to determine whether Sapirman’s victims were random or targeted hate crimes.
Police served a search warrant Sapirman’s home and found a laptop and a can of butane in the oven, WISH reported.
Sapirman had no criminal history as an adult but Chief Ison said he was involved in fights and ran away from home as a juvenile.
The police chief said Sapirman entered the mall at about 5 p.m. on July 17 and went straight into a bathroom next to the food court where he prepared for the shooting, the New York Post reported.
Sapirman had recently quit his warehouse job and was in danger of being evicted from his home, according to relatives.
Sixty-two minutes after he entered the restroom, he came out shooting, the New York Post reported.
Sapirman had already shot several people when 22-year-old Elisjsha “Eli” Dicken from Bartholomew County, who was at the mall with his girlfriend, bravely intervened, WTHR reported.
Shay Goldman, 19, called her grandmother from the mall immediately after the incident and described her boyfriend’s heroics.
The grandmother told WTHR that Shay said she’d gone to the restroom and was headed back to the food court when she saw the gunman coming out of the bathroom with a rifle.
“She said she had that sick feeling like look behind her or beside her and he [the mall shooter] was walking out behind her and she said, ‘Grandma I seen a long gun’ and then all of a sudden Eli told her get down and pushed her and she said it went from there,” the grandmother recalled.
Shay told her grandmother that she hit behind a kiosk and her boyfriend stopped the suspect with seconds.
Chief Ison said that 15 seconds after Sapirman began shooting, the 22-year-old good Samaritan pulled out his legally-owned pistol, steadied himself on a pole, and fired 10 rounds at Sapirman from 40 yards away, FOX News reported.
Eight of the shots hit their target, according to the police chief.
The suspect tried to flee back into the bathroom but dropped to the floor before he could escape.
He was pronounced dead at the scene.
“His actions were nothing short of heroic,” Chief Ison said. “He engaged the gunman from quite a distance with a handgun. Was very proficient in that, was tactically sound and as he moved to close in on the suspect, he was also motioning for people to exit behind him.”
Three people were killed and two more were wounded before Dicken intervened.
“Many people would have died last night if not for a responsible armed citizen that took action very quickly within the first two minutes of this shooting,” the police chief added.