We know this about the armed bystander who killed the shooter at an Indiana mall
(CNN) — Dressed in shorts and a T-shirt, Elisha Dicken was shopping with her girlfriend when a gunman opened fire in a food court at a Greenwood, Indiana, shopping center Sunday night, killing three people and wounding two others.
When 20-year-old Douglas Sabirman fired 24 shots from an AR-15-style rifle, Dicken didn’t hesitate to use his legally owned Glock pistol. Sapirman was “neutralized” within two minutes, police said.
“Many more people would have died last night if not for an armed, responsible citizen who acted very quickly within the first two minutes of the shooting,” Greenwood Police Chief James Ison said at a news conference Monday.
The grandmother of Shay Goldman, Dicken’s girlfriend of 19 years, says her granddaughter’s life was among those saved by the young man’s actions. CNN affiliate WTHR reported..
“Eli pushed me out of the way and told me to get down and stay on the floor,” Goldman told his grandmother over the phone, according to WTHR.
“Everybody should be proud of what he did, if not, there would have been a lot more,” said the grandmother, who did not identify the member.
As Sabierman began shooting from a restroom area into the mall’s food court, Dicken “fired from a long distance. He was very good at it, very crafty,” Eisen said. As he approached the shooter, Dicken motioned for people to get out behind him, the chief said.
“He’s a superhero,” Alison Dick, whose 12-year-old daughter was injured, said in a Facebook post.
To the investigators’ knowledge, Dicken had “no police or military training,” Eisen said. According to WTHR, Dicken’s grandfather taught him how to shoot.
A rare event
What makes Dicken’s heroism even more remarkable is the fact that instances of an armed bystander attacking an active shooter are rare, according to data from law enforcement advanced rapid response training at the University of Texas.
According to ALERRT data, there have been at least 434 mass shootings in the United States between 2000 and 2021. Active shooter attacks are defined as one or more assailants killing or attempting to kill multiple unrelated people in a populated area.
Of those 434 shootings, in 22 incidents an armed bystander shot and killed the assailant. Of those 10, the “good guy” is an off-duty janitor or police officer, according to ALERRT data.
According to an analysis of data published by The New York Times, the presence of armed individuals who are not members of law enforcement on the scene can create confusion and pose serious risks. For example, an armed bystander who shot and killed an attacker in Arvada, Colorado in 2021 was shot and killed by police who mistook him for the attacker, The New York Times reported.
Few other details have emerged about Dicken, and the teenager’s attorney has asked the public to respect the privacy of Dicken and his family.
“While we want to respect the ongoing criminal investigation by the Greenwood Police Department and take time to honor the three innocent lives, we will not be commenting on the events of this Sunday until the officers’ investigation is complete.” Attorney Guy A. Relford said in a statement to CNN.
After the shooting, Dicken “came to mall security and told them he was the one who neutralized the shooter,” and waited for police to arrive, Eisen said.
Police then took Dicken to the police station, where detectives questioned him. The chief said his statements were consistent with video from the scene.
“He’s a young man and he’s processing a lot,” Greenwood Mayor Mark Myers said. “I’m asking that he be given space and time to process what happened.”
“This young man, a Good Samaritan of Greenwood, acted in seconds, stopped the attacker and saved countless lives,” Myers said. Our city, our community and our state thank him for his bravery in this situation.
CNN’s Amir Vera, Artemis Mostaghian, Holly Yan and Jacqueline Rose contributed to this report.