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On Tuesday, 22-year-old Jacob Roberts walked into an Oregon mall and open fired, using a stolen AR-15 rifle to target shoppers and mall employees alike. His spree left two dead and many others injured, before he turned the gun on himself. His behavior seems like a senseless act, and is contrary to how his friends describe the young man, who happily worked in a sandwich shop in town and had hoped to move to Hawaii.
In the months leading up to the Clackamas Town Center Mall shooting, Roberts was busy and excited for a move away from the area. The young man had plans to move to Hawaii and wasn’t abashed about them. He even began selling off his possessions. According to the Los Angeles Times, the Hawaii move fell through. We may never know exactly what Roberts frame of mind was when he went to the mall with the purpose of harming innocent bystanders, but our one clue may be this failure to leave a place the young man seemed happy to be getting away from.
Back in October, Roberts posted a picture to his Facebook page which featured the statement “Follow your dreams,” crossed out and replaced with the word “cancelled.” While this might be a clue that Roberts’ state was not the peppy and positive attitude he was presenting to friends, it doesn’t tell us much except that he was potentially discontent back in October, and his friends, as well as his mother, still maintain his behavior comes as a shock.
It will take some incredible sleuthing, and we may never know what triggered the response, but our hearts go out to the families of the two victims. We are thankful no further lives have been lost due to the senseless act.