And so here is a report that the Clackamas mall shooter was actually confronted by an armed citizen, who may very well have prevented any further bloodshed by his mere presence.
"He was working on his rifle," said Meli. "He kept pulling the charging handle and hitting the side."
The break in gunfire allowed Meli to pull out his own gun, but he never took his eyes off the shooter.
"As I was going down to pull, I saw someone in the back of the Charlotte move, and I knew if I fired and missed, I could hit them," he said.
Meli took cover inside a nearby store. He never pulled the trigger. He stands by that decision.
"I'm not beating myself up cause I didn't shoot him," said Meli. "I know after he saw me, I think the last shot he fired was the one he used on himself."
Well now that is interesting, isn't it? Again, presuming the veracity of the locally-reported story, here we have an armed citizen that responded admirably, electing not to shoot based on Rule 4 (and 2, for that matter) and the immediate analysis that the shooter was not an immediate threat while trying to clear his malfunction. That would be an outstanding performance, under stress.
The wording of the story does not make it perfectly clear, and Meli's statement was probably intended to be "the next shot he fired" rather than "the last shot he fired" (which would be forensically useless given "...was the one he used on himself"), but it certainly seems, as Karl Denninger at The Market Ticker notes, that it was Meli's display of capacity that ended the fight:
Indeed the shooter did shoot himself next, despite having multiple additional unarmed people available near him to continue his rampage, along with additional cartridges, once he unjammed the gun.
He saw the man who, despite a sign claiming that there were no guns in the mall, was in fact armed and able to return fire. The assailant's illusion of a free-fire zone where all the people he wanted to shoot were free from the risk of returning fire had been dispelled; had he elected to shoot another unarmed and helpless individual the odds are good that he would have exposed himself to being shot as he would have had to move in a fashion that would have given the CCW holder a clear shot at him.
As such he elected to take his own life since he knew, at that point, that he no longer had the ability to continue to murder people without reprisal.
Well stated. Sure, it's conjecture, since the attacker is not around to tell us for sure, but the fact remains that no further victims were claimed after the display of resistance.
And we should highlight that one. The display of resistance. Meli did not need to fire, and he did not. He was a thinking, adaptive individual, reacting under fire in a manner that the Brady Bunch would have you believe is impossible. And yet here we are. (Care to wager how many rounds would have flown if it were one or more cops in Meli's position?)
Hopefully this story is true, and others pick up on it. If so, it's a powerful and instructive anecdote attending an otherwise horrible event.
If not: it bloody well should be.