Inside a shooter's mind

(KYTX) -  We are learning more about the gunman who opened fire in a mall near Portland, Oregon, during the height of the holiday shopping season. Two people were killed and a third seriously wounded before the young man took his own life. Police say he was just 22 years old.

We talked to a local psychologist to find out what could possibly motivate a person to do something so violent.

"People who usually do things like this are very angry individuals who are striking out at what they believe to be institutions, or events or others who are the cause of their misery."

Tyler psychologist Dr. Wade French says people like the alleged gunman, Jacob Tyler Roberts, usually have pain that is built up over time.

"They don't have a place in this world. They can't find a fit." says Dr. French.

Witnesses say Roberts calmly announced, "I am the shooter," before opening fire with a semi-automatic rifle Tuesday afternoon.

"I was helping a customer." says store employee Jacob Rogers. "There were five to seven gunshots, machine gunshots, right outside my store."

Frightened holiday shoppers quickly started heading for the exits. One captured this scene on a cell phone.

When it was all over, 54-year-old Cindy Ann Yuille and 45-year-old Steven Mathew Forsyth were fatally shot. Roberts also took his own life.

"It's kind of one of these deals where, 'if I can't be happy, then no one else should be. And, I'm going to make sure that, in a sense, I get away with it because I'm not going to be here to be tried.' says Dr. French. 

Clackamas County Sheriff's deputies say Roberts had no relationship with these victims and he probably acted alone.

Dr. French says there are warning signs and behaviors you can look for in people who may unexpectedly turn violent.

"Anybody who starts to withdraw from their primary support group- their friends, their family, they isolate themselves from their coworkers..."

Dr. French says if you notice changes like this in someone, refer them to professional help.

As for Roberts, we are still learning about his behavior prior to the shooting.

Mall manager Dennis Curtis says he still just can't believe what happened.

"It's difficult to see how anything good comes out of a tragedy like this, but it reminds us of how precious we are to one another."

A hospital spokesperson says the surviving shooting victim is a 15 year old girl. She is in serious condition, but her injuries are not life threatening. The mall will remain closed while investigators continue to gather evidence.


To find out more about Facebook commenting please read the
Conversation Guidelines and FAQs

Leave a Comment