Five months after a 20-year-old man shot five people, three of them fatally, at a suburban Indianapolis mall, police and the FBI could shed light this week on the gunman’s motive.
The Greenwood Police Department announced that the department and the FBI will discuss the July 17 shooting at a Wednesday morning news conference. Officer Jason Grable said Tuesday that the department cannot discuss in advance what information will be released.
FBI spokeswoman Chris Bavender said the federal agency will provide an update on efforts to extract data from gunman Jonathan Douglas Sapirman’s cellphone and his laptop, both of which had been damaged. She declined to comment further on Tuesday.
Sapirman, 20, of Greenwood was fatally shot by an armed shopper shortly after he opened fire in the food court of Greenwood Park Mall around the mall’s closing time in the city just south of Indianapolis.
A married Indianapolis couple — Pedro Pineda, 56, and Rosa Mirian Rivera de Pineda, 37 — and Victor Gomez, 30, also of Indianapolis, were killed. A woman shot in the leg and a 12-year-old girl who was hit by shrapnel were wounded in the attack, police said.
The FBI said in August that data could not be recovered from a laptop Sapirman had placed in the oven at his apartment with a can of butane before leaving to commit the shooting. The oven was on and set at a high temperature that damaged the laptop beyond forensic analysis.
But the FBI said in August that it was still trying to analyze the cellphone, which police said Sapirman dropped in a toilet in a restroom at the mall before he opened fire.
The FBI and Greenwood police said in August that they were trying to determine a motive for Sapirman’s actions, and were also analyzing his social media and online presence to potentially uncover a motive.
Sapirman was facing eviction before he opened fire at the mall, where he had likely assembled in a bathroom the rifle that he used in the attack, Greenwood police said in August.
He was shot and killed by an armed bystander, 22-year-old Elisjsha Dicken, a Seymour, Indiana, man who had been at the mall shopping with his girlfriend. Greenwood Police Chief James Ison has said Dicken’s quick action was “nothing short of heroic.”
Authorities have said Dicken was legally armed. As of July 1, Indiana law allows anyone age 18 or older to carry a handgun in public, except for those prohibited for reasons such as having a felony conviction, facing a restraining order or having a dangerous mental illness as determined by a court.
While the mall prohibits people from carrying weapons on its property, the mall issued a statement two days after the shooting praising Dicken’s “heroic actions” and saying it grieves for the victims.