SALT LAKE CITY: The gunman who shot dead four people in a Salt Lake City shopping mall rampage was an 18-year-old Bosnian refugee, but his motive was a mystery, police said on Tuesday.
The teenager, dressed in a trench coat and carrying a shotgun, a.38 calibre pistol and what police said was a "backpack full of ammunition," opened fire at random on Monday evening, sending terrified shoppers running for cover.
Salt Lake City police chief Chris Burbank said the gunman appeared determined to "shoot as many people as he possibly could."
Five people were killed and four others were wounded before an off-duty police officer opened fire and stopped the youth from moving farther through the mall. He was killed by police who arrived in force.
Police identified the gunman as Solejman Talovic, who they said had lived in Salt Lake City for a few years with his mother. He had four minor incidents with police when he was a juvenile, they said.
"We don't have any motive or reason behind his actions. We know very little," Burbank said, adding that the victims were picked at random.
"From everything we have gathered, it appears very random and (there) was no sense to why he was doing what he was doing."
Three of the dead were women, including a 15-year-old girl, and two were men.
Investigators on Tuesday combed through the labyrinth of hallways, stores and restaurants in the Trolley Square shopping complex where the shootings occurred.
"We heard gunfire outside the front of the store. We took the employees and two customers and ran back to the storage room, locked the doors, slowly heard the shotgun fire getting closer and closer," said Matt Lund, who was in the Secret Garden children's clothing store.
"It eventually sounded like it was near the back of our store right by the room we were in," said Lund.
Marie Smith, who works at Bath & Body Works, told reporters she saw the gunman shoot a girl who was standing in front of the store. "I cried a lot on the way out," said Smith.
Burbank said an off-duty police officer was having an early Valentine's Day dinner with his wife in the mall when the shooting began. The unidentified officer was the first to engage the gunman. Other officers then arrived and the man was killed.
Utah Governor Jon Huntsman Jr ordered government offices to lower flags to half-staff in respect for those killed.
"This is as tough as it gets in any community," said Salt Lake City Mayor Rocky Anderson.
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