WASHINGTON: A man opened fire at a mall in the US state of Indiana on Sunday killing three and injuring two, officials said, the latest armed rampage in a country plagued by gun violence.

The attack ended when a “good Samaritan” shot the gunman dead, police said.

“We experienced a mass shooting this evening at the Greenwood Park Mall,” Mark Myers, mayor of Greenwood, Indiana, said in a statement. The town is about 16 kilometres south of downtown Indianapolis, the state capital.

The gunman, who has not been identified, entered the mall’s food court at about 6pm carrying a rifle along with several magazines of ammunition and opened fire, said Chief Jim Ison of the Greenwood Police Department. Those injured included a 12-year-old girl, Ison said, adding that no motive had been established.

Gun rights advocates seize moment to build case for importance of allowing Americans to carry firearms

“Four have been confirmed deceased,” he said, noting that that included the initial shooter. Chief Ison praised the intervention of the armed passer-by who ended the attack, calling the 22-year-old man a “good Samaritan.”

“The real hero of the day is the citizen that was lawfully carrying a firearm in that food court and was able to stop this shooter almost as soon as he began,” he said.

“This has shaken us to our core. This isn’t something we have seen in Greenwood before,” he said. “It’s absolutely horrendous.”

It is the latest attack in a wave of gun violence plaguing the United States, where about 40,000 deaths a year are caused by firearms, according to the Gun Violence Archive.Gun rights advocates will likely seize on the killing of the suspect in Indiana as an example of why it is important to allow Americans to carry firearms.

“We will say it again: The only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun,” the National Rifle Association said in a Tweet on Monday morning.

It is rare for a bystander to stop a mass shooting in the United States, according to an analysis by the New York Times. The newspaper showed that only 22 gunmen in the 433 shooting attacks since 2000 were shot by a bystander. The incident also raises questions regarding the interaction between state law and the rights of companies and businesses to ban weapons on their properties.

The shooting comes just weeks after the Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb signed a bill into law repealed the state’s handgun permit requirement. Now, anyone 18 years of age or older who is not legally prohibited from firearm possession may generally carry a concealed handgun in public.

The law conflicts with the policy of Simon Property Group, the owner of the Greenwood Park Mall, which prohibits guns on its properties, according to its website. The Indianapolis-based company was unavailable for comment on Monday.

According to Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita, private businesses and property owners may restrict gun owners from carrying a weapon on their property.

Published in Dawn, July 19th, 2022

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