In the state of Indiana, in the United States, a man opened fire indiscriminately in a shopping center on Sunday, July 17. A bystander carrying a gun killed the shooter. Four people were reported dead in total and one injured, while concern is growing in the country about the increase in this type of violent acts and the lack of regulation of firearms.
Outside Indianapolis, a man killed three people on July 17 and left one more injured after he began shooting indiscriminately at a shopping mall food court in Greenwood County, Indiana, on Sunday in the afternoon. In the chaos, shoppers and mall employees scattered and hid to the sound of gunfire.
Local media reported that in the early afternoon, a man only entered the Greenwood Park Mall food court with two rifles, a pistol and 100 reloading ammunition to attack people who were there.
Meanwhile, a 22-year-old bystander whose identity has not yet been released quickly stopped the attack, shooting the attacker with a legally-carrying firearm, authorities said.
“We know that someone we call a ‘good Samaritan’ was able to shoot the assailant and stop more blood from being shed. This person saved lives this afternoon. (…) I am grateful for his swift action and heroism,” Greenwood Mayor said , Mark Myers in a statement.
I am monitoring the ongoing investigation in Greenwood, where Indiana State Police are assisting local authorities. Lives were lost today, and I’m thinking about all the victims of this horrible incident, now and in the days and weeks to come.
— Governor Eric Holcomb (@GovHolcomb) July 18, 2022
Jim Ison, chief of the Greenwood Police Department, spoke out after being present at the scene saying that the motive behind the shooting is still unknown, but that the investigation was launched immediately.
The victims included two men and a 37-year-old woman. It is known that the attacker was 20 years old and had a criminal record.
A long-standing legal dispute and dozens of victims
This shooting comes just weeks after Indiana Governor Eric Holcom signed a bill that successfully repealed the in-state firearms permit requirement. In other words, currently, anyone over the age of 18 who has no criminal record can legally carry a weapon in public places.
With this new decision, new questions are raised about the interaction between state law and the rights of private individuals to prohibit weapons within their properties. Simon Property Group, the company that owns the shopping center where the tragedy occurred, explicitly prohibits the carrying of weapons within its facilities.
Faced with this, Todd Rokita, attorney general of Indiana, spoke out noting that private companies and business owners have the power to restrict the carrying of weapons inside their facilities.
“While it is generally not illegal to ignore a ‘no firearms’ sign at a private business, you may commit a criminal offense for entering a business after you have been denied entry or asked him to leave,” read a statement issued by the prosecutor.
The debate continues over the regulation of firearms in the United States
This new shooting occurs after a series of massacres with firearms that have been taking place since May, fueling the fierce debate in the United States against the regulation of firearms.
A shooting at a grocery store in New York, another at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, one on Independence Day in Illinois and this latest event heighten concerns about an uptick in shootings.
This week, the Judiciary Committee of the United States House of Representatives will analyze a proposal that seeks to ban certain assault weapons, although public opinion does not believe that the motion will be approved by the Senate.
Gun rights advocates have seized on the suspect’s murder in Indiana as an argument for allowing Americans to carry guns. For its part, the National Rifle Association spoke out with a tweet after the events saying: “We will say it again: The only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.
However, ‘The New York Times’ proposed an analysis showing that it is rare for a passerby to stop a mass shooting. The newspaper showed that only 22 attacks have been stopped by civilians, out of a total of 433 since 2000.
The Parkland High School Trial
Meanwhile in Florida, the man who attacked a Parkland high school in 2018 is back in court to begin the sentencing phase of his case, which has been billed as one of the deadliest school massacres in the world and the Worst school shooting in America.
After the hearing is over, a judge will decide whether he is sentenced to death or life in prison, without the possibility of any benefits such as parole.
In October of last year, Nikolas Cruz, 23, pleaded guilty to being responsible for a 17-count mass shooting after murdering 14 students and three workers at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas school.
On February 14, 2018, Cruz entered the school while opening fire through the halls and classrooms of the institution with his AR-15 semi-automatic rifle. The lead prosecutor in the case, Mike Satz, described him as “cold, calculating, manipulative and deadly.”
The defender of the victimizer bases her argument on the fact that Cruz is a young adult with emotional and psychological problems, stemming from fetal alcohol syndrome and child abuse. His classmates had previously described him as “racist” and “psychopath.”
Cruz’s case is the deadliest in US history to come to trial; normally when there is a shooting, the attackers die immediately, either by suicide or by police shooting.
Similarly, the man suspected of murdering 23 people in a 2019 shooting in El Paso, Texas, is awaiting trial. The attack was allegedly carried out by a 23-year-old man at a Walmart and was aimed at Mexicans who were there.
While the debate on weapons in the United States continues to generate reactions and polarization, the number of victims of these events reaches record numbers.
With AP and Reuters