An officer’s perspective of the Clackamas mall shooting

On Dec 11, a masked gunman entered the mall and opened fire, killing two others before taking his own life. The response was immediate as it spread over city lines to help the victims stuck at the mall and to bring the gunman down. Sergeant Jamey McDonald, Tigard police officer, heard about the shooting ten minutes after the first calls came in reporting that shots were fired and his department immediately sprang into action.

“Since we are way out in Tigard, we didn’t send any officers to the mall,” McDonald said. “What we did instead was a ‘mutual aid’, which means that we send our officers over to cities who are covering the incident. We back up cities that help respond to other cities, since they can get there faster. That’s how it generally works: closer cities send officers and then we back them up.”

Being a police officer, McDonald knows how to respond to situations similar to this, but nothing to this magnitude.

“We have (experienced situations like this) in different levels but not a mass shooting,” McDonald said. “We have calls come in about a person with a knife in a group of people threatening them, and we respond in a similar fashion, just not with a 100 police officers.”

But when situations like this arise, officers know exactly how to handle it because of the extensive training they go through throughout their careers as officers. At McDonald’s department, they just completed a training for a situation like this two months ago.

“We train specifically to deal with active threats like this,” McDonald said.

Even though McDonald and his fellow officers know how to handle circumstances like this, the shooting at the mall was still a shock to them.

“This is not a normal event and it caught us by surprise,” McDonald said.