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Together through tragedy

Together through tragedy

By Nicole Davis

A shooting at Greenwood Park Mall on Sunday, July 17 resulted in multiple deaths and left the Southside community in shock and mourning. For many local residents, it was hard to turn away from the news or from social media, while awaiting news and offering prayers and condolences.

The Greenwood Police Department released in a press conference on July 18 that Jonathan Douglas Sapirman, a 20-year-old from Greenwood, walked to the mall, entered through the doors next to the food court and then into the nearest bathroom. An hour later, he came out and began shooting into the mall’s food court. He struck five people, killing three: Victor Gomez, Pedro Pineda and his wife, Rosa Mirian Rivera de Pineda, all of Indianapolis.

Within minutes, Elisjsha Dicken of Seymour, Ind., who Greenwood officials call the “good Samaritan,” shot back at Sapirman, striking him. Sapirman is among the four deceased in this incident.

“I will say his actions were nothing short of heroic,” Greenwood Police Chief Jim Ison said of Dicken. “He engaged the gunman from quite a distance with a handgun. He was very proficient in that, very tactically sound. As he moved to close in on the suspect, he was also motioning for people to exit behind him.”

Community members created a memorial outside of Greenwood Park Mall in honor of the victims of the shooting on July 17. (Photo by Nicole Davis)

It didn’t take long before the Southside community – plus all of Indiana and the nation – began to voice their sympathies and prayers for all of those impacted by the shooting. The city held a vigil on July 22. Coffeehouse Five hosted an event with a psychotherapist to help those affected to process what happened. There was no shortage of community members reaching out to talk, to help or offer their thoughts and prayers.

“This violence has hit at the heart of our community,” wrote Aspire Economic Development + Chamber Alliance in an email sent to its members. “We join our fellow neighbors in prayer for all the families and first responders impacted by this senseless act of violence.”

A large number of people on social media outlets also voiced their support for Dicken.

Gov. Eric J. Holcomb stated, “I join all Hoosiers in being grateful for the quick, heroic actions taken by an individual citizen and first responders on Sunday evening in Greenwood, surely preventing further loss of life and injuries. I stand with the community in grieving the loss of lives, and my thoughts are also with the many people impacted by this traumatic incident, including innocent bystanders whose lives are forever changed.”

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