It was supposed to be a day of last-minute Christmas shopping coupled with a visit to relatives in Oregon for Gary and Karen Duggins of Steilacoom, Wash. But as they were in the Forever 21 store inside the Clackamas Town Center Mall, just outside of Portland, shots rang out and the Duggins were thrown into a world of terror.
Karen Duggins posted on her Facebook page tonight, “We were at Clackamas Town Center Mall today when the gunman started shooting in rapid fire with at least 20 casings that I could count. The shots started near 3:15 and we were in Forever 21 store near his shooting 2nd story level. We went down to the lower level and found a young couple hiding near the escalator with a one year old & one due in January, so we pulled black garment racks to totally hide them and ourselves and kept watch on the outside for the gunman or help from police.”
She said her husband was motioned to “lower and hide” as the police scouted the area with shields and automatic guns. For over an hour, the Duggins were in lock down, not knowing what was going on inside the mall. They called their daughter to say “goodbye” and to say “we love you”. They didn’t know how close they were to being shot next.
According to Karen, at 4:38 p.m., they were escorted out of the mall with six officers who were carrying guns and shields to the parking lot. Karen described the scene as “nothing but police cars, marked and unmarked, in all inbound lanes to the mall and ambulances everywhere.”
As they were driving northbound on Interstate 5 back to their home in Steilacoom, Karen said there was nothing but flashing lights of police cars and ambulances heading southbound from two counties north of the Columbia River.
We now know that a masked gunman killed two people, injured one, and killed himself.
The Duggins, who were still in shock after today’s shooting, said they are very saddened for the families of those who were killed and injured, and prays that God watches over them and helps them through this very sad and difficult time.
South Puget Sound News would like to extend its condolences to the victim’s family members and friends.