Jonathan Sapirman was identified by Indiana authorities as the mass shooter and former warehouse worker accused of gunning down three people and wounding two at Greenwood Park Mall.
Sapirman, 20, of Greenwood, Indiana, fired 24 rounds before he was shot and killed at the scene by a Good Samaritan, confirmed Mayor Mark W. Myers, who released a statement via Facebook. The mass shooter’s full name was Jonathan Douglas Sapirman. The coroner released his name on the afternoon of July 18, 2022.
Sapirman was from a troubled family, court records obtained by Heavy reveal, and his brother sought guardianship of him after his mother lost her job and ended up in a shelter after his parents divorced. He had a juvenile history of assault, including at school, those court records reveal. The mother battled the brother for custody after she started a career as a nurse.
Images of a young man with weaponry were posted to 4Chan and circulated on Twitter, but authorities have not confirmed them as belonging to Sapirman. “Name is Jonathan and today seems like a good day to die,” reads a message posted on the site and shared on Twitter.
The Good Samaritan’s name is Elisjsha Dicken, police later revealed. Read more about Dicken here. Dicken was legally allowed to carry a gun due to Indiana’s new constitutional carry law, police said, but the mall had a no-guns on premises policy, its website shows.
The mayor wrote that four people died and two were injured, including a 12-year-old girl who suffered minor injuries. The four deaths include the shooter. The deceased victims were named by the coroner as Pedro Pineda, 56, of Indianapolis; Rosa Mirian Rivera de Pineda, 37, of Indianapolis; and Victor Gomez, 30, of Indianapolis. The Pinedas were husband and wife.
“We are sickened by yet another type of incident like this in our country, in our city,” Chris Bailey, Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department assistant chief, said in a news conference on July 17, 2022.
“Today is very tough,” the mayor said in a news conference on July 18. “…I grieve for these senseless killings.”
Read about the victims here.
“We are very thankful for a young 22-year-old man who stopped this violent act,” the mayor continued. “This young man, Greenwood’s Good Samaritan, acted within seconds, stopping the shooter and saving countless lives,” the mayor said, declaring the city and state “grateful for his heroism.” He said the Good Samaritan was a “young man processing a lot” who needed space and time.
The shooting was random.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Sapirman, Who Was Stopped by the ‘Good Samaritan’, Was Once Subject to a Guardianship Petition That Alleged He Was Living in a Week-to-Week Motel at Age 16
According to Indiana court records, Jonathan Douglas Sapirman was once subject to a petition for a guardianship. No other court cases come up for him.
His brother sought custody. Sapirman’s parents divorced. His father lives in Arizona, and his mother lives in Indiana. The petitioner is listed as Justin Sapirman. The case was filed in 2019 and is listed as pending. A 2018 entry reads, “Hearing on Guardianship of Jonathan Sapirman; Jonathan Sapirman and Justin Sapirman Appears in Person and by Counsel, Nathan Vining; Mother Michelle Newton Appears in Person; Jeffrey Sapirman Appears in Person; Testimony given; Judge to review and provide Order.”
The petition for guardianship, obtained by Heavy, says that Sapirman was 16 at the time and residing in Greenwood, Indiana. The case was before Judge Kevin Barton.
“The nature of the incapacity of the minor child is that he has not reached the age of majority and/or emancipation,” it says.
It says that his father is Jeffrey Sapirman and mother is Michelle Newton, of Indianapolis, Indiana. Justin Sapirman, who wanted to be named guardian, had an address in Greenwood.
The petition alleges that the “minor child was in a week to week motel with mother until March 2017. Since March 2017 the minor child has been living with Justin Sapirman…”
It asks the Department of Child Services to be made a part of the action because there was an active case involving the minor child. The nature of that case was not detailed.
The father’s address is given as Surprise, Arizona.
The court documents say that the parents divorced in Ohio. The mother was described as the “custodial parent.” The father consented to the guardianship but the mother did not. The petition alleges that the mother suffered a job loss two years before and went to live in a shelter. Jonathan went to live with his brother, Justin, at that time. After an “incident” not described, the Department of Child Services assumed control of Jonathan. He was placed in a foster family, then returned to live with his brother.
He was removed from the foster care family “following an occurrence of abuse,” the mother related, according to the court documents.
The petition notes, “There is great discrepancy in the events related by the parties… mother asserts that she is able to resume her role as custodial parent. Mother has steady employment and stable housing. The Court notes an extreme antipathy by Jonathan to his Mother. The cause of the antipathy is unclear.”
That order appointed Justin Sapirman as a temporary guardian. The court also ordered that the Johnson County CASA represent the interests of Jonathan Sapirman to investigate and make a report to the court.
The court ordered that Jonathan attend Greenwood High School without being tardy or absent, should not use alcohol or drugs, and the court asked to be advised of any disciplinary action at school. The court also ordered family counseling.
Another 2018 entry in the case reads, “Johnson County Department of Child Services files five (5) Assessment of Alleged Child Abuse Or Neglect Reports per Order of October 18, 2018. Having reviewed said Reports, Order Appointing Temporary Guardian Of The Person dated October 18, 2018, remains in place without modification.” In 2019, an order granted the petitioner guardianship.
2. Sapirman, Whose Mother Claimed Was Once Accused of Assaulting Another Student at Greenwood High School, Was Armed With a Long Gun & Multiple Magazines, Police Say
The Indiana court documents obtain by Heavy in the Guardianship contain a letter from Sapirman’s mother to to the court. She wrote that she objected to the guardianship of her youngest son. “Jonathan has failed to come home to a stable, loving, positive and nurturing environment,” she wrote.
She made allegations against her older son in that letter. She also wrote that she was informed that “Jonathan had been arrested on assault charges against another student at Greenwood High School Grounds. Jonathan was suspended from school. I also found out he has missed days from school and is failing his classes.” The police chief said he believed Sapirman was a graduate of Greenwood High School.
She told the court: “Jonathan is an intelligent teenage boy. He is able to achieve straight A’s with the right support. Since Jonathan’s refusal to come home and staying with Justin, he has been arrested several times including drugs and assault. I don’t think Jonathan is (word unintelligible) of parenting. He still has demons to conquer of his own.”
I have been found as a stable parent through DFS and CPS. I have a clean home, free from drugs. I have a nice apartment and live in a community where I feel safe and supported. I am a CNA with ASC for over a year in Beech Grove where ASC is paying for me to further advanced my nursing degree. I have a future planned for myself and with my sons. I will not give up my parental rights and allow Jonathan to continue to live in an unstructured unsupervised drugs in the home and assault charges brings enthusiasm to those who reside there.
She concluded, “Please for the sake of my children, Jonathan needs to come home.”
In a Monday press conference, police said that Sapirman had no criminal history but did have a juvenile record. Chief Ison described his juvenile history as minor – a “fight at school” and juvenile runaway case.
Police said Sapirman bought the rifle he used on March 8 in Greenwood and another rifle he bought on March 9 was found in a bathroom. He was also armed with a handgun.
Shortly before 6 p.m., Greenwood Police Department was dispatched to the mall for a report of shots fired, said Bailey.
Greenwood Police Chief Jim Ison added that all stores were cleared in the mall. “We are confident there are no additional threats,” he said.
Ison revealed the gunman was armed with a long gun and several magazines. He said some law enforcement officers reported from home after hearing what was happening.
“It appears that he had a rifle with several magazines of ammunition, entered the food court and began shooting,” Ison said.
The weapon used in the mass shooting was a Sig Sauer Model M400 5.56-caliber rifle, said Ison. He also had a Glock pistol “on his person,” said Ison, but the only weapon he used was the Sig Sauer rifle. “He had over 100 rounds of ammunition on his person and in his possession,” said Ison.
Bailey said there was no longer an immediate public safety concern for residents or visitors of the area, which is on the south side of Indianapolis, Indiana, in Greenwood. Tactical units were going “methodically” through the mall to make sure no one was awaiting rescue.
“That’s going to take some time,” he said, adding that the investigation was being led by the Greenwood Police Department.
Ison said authorities were shaken to their core.
Police said they cleared a backpack, although he did not go into detail about the contents in it. Authorities were concerned there was an explosive device in it, but determined there was not, he said.
3. The Chief Said the Shooting Occurred in the Food Court Area & Sapirman Was Stopped by the Good Samaritan, Who Saved Lives
Ison said that the gunman entered the mall through the food court entrance at 4:54 p.m. He walked directly to the food court restroom. He exited the restroom 1 hour and 2 minutes later.
He shot and killed victim Gomez outside the restroom. He pointed his rifle into the food court, where the married victims were eating dinner, and shot them to death. He then shot more rounds into the food court, striking a 22 year old female, who is recovering from a leg wound at the hospital, the chief said. A bullet fragment ricocheted off the wall, striking a 12-year-old female running away. A minor wound was treated at the hospital, where a small piece of metal jacket was removed.
The shooter was then stopped by the Good Samaritan at 5:57 p.m. He was armed with a pistol and engaged the shooter as Sapirman stood outside the restroom area firing into the food court, Ison said.
Dicken fired several times, hitting Sapirman, who tried to retreat back into the restroom but fell to the ground after being shot, said Ison. Police recovered 24 rifle rounds fired by the suspect and 10 handgun rounds fired by Dicken.
Authorities believe Sapirman walked to the Greenwood Park Mall, Ison said, revealing that family members told police Sapirman typically walked or ubered “to wherever he needs to go.”
The suspect “entered the food court and began shooting,” said Ison.
Bailey also said police believe that the shooting occurred in the area of the mall’s food court.
“This tragedy hits at the core of our community. Please offer your prayers to the victims and our first responders,” the mayor wrote in an earlier statement.
Dicken, the Good Samaritan who was armed, observed the shooting in progress and shot the shooter, police said in a later news conference.
“We do know that someone we are calling the ‘Good Samaritan’ was able to shoot the assailant and stop further bloodshed,” the mayor wrote.
Ison said in a news conference that he believed the Good Samaritan was armed with a handgun.
“This person saved lives tonight. On behalf of the City of Greenwood, I am grateful for his quick action and heroism in this situation,” he said.
Ison said in a press conference that the Good Samaritan was 22 and from Bartholomew County.
On Facebook, Dicken shared posts equating arms to liberty.
“The real hero of the day is the citizen that was lawfully carrying a firearm in that food court and was able to stop the shooter almost as soon as he began,” Ison said in the later news conference.
4. Sapirman Had Frequented Shooting Ranges & Recently Resigned From His Warehouse Job, Police Say
He had practiced shooting at Range USA, according to Ison. “He was frequently using their range and purchasing ammunition at that location the past two years,” said Ison. He recently resigned from a warehouse position in May, said Ison.
Family members told police that Sapirman had received an eviction notice.
His cell phone was located in a toilet in a bathroom stall, where they believe he placed it before exiting the bathroom to start the shooting spree.
People took to social media as word of the active shooter initially spread. “Has anyone heard there is an active shooter in greenwood mall right now. Our friends daughter is locked in the store she works at,” wrote one person.
A man wrote on Facebook, “Shooting at the Greenwood Park Mall. Active shooter brought a semi automatic weapon into the mall, came out of the bathroom with it in hand and starting unloading, killing and injuring civilians.”
Ison said a backpack was lying unattended in the bathroom.
One person at the mall wrote, “Active shooter Greenwood(Indiana) mall, barely made it out through the stampede but thank The Good Lord above, I did. Didn’t hear any shots but I just saw a stampede of people scrambling over each other mumbling about a shooter!!! And I ran like hell in front of the pack and screamed for everyone else to ‘go they said there’s a shooter!’ My legs barely made it to the truck I was so scared.'”
5. The Motive Remains Unclear, Police Said, Revealing the Gunman Left His Laptop in an Oven
The oven was on in Sapirman’s apartment when police entered it, Ison said. There was a laptop in the oven and can of Butane, he said. It is being analyzed at Quantico because it was damaged due to heat. He placed his cell phone in a bathroom toilet at the mall. Authorities also want to analyze that, but it was damaged by the water.
He said police still don’t know Sapirman’s motive, and his family could not providing one, expressing surprise.
The mall had been searched and vacated but investigators were inside collecting evidence, the mayor wrote in his statement.
He also wrote that, at that time, police still did not know the shooter’s motive.
Police said the motive was still “being sorted out.”
“We’re still putting the pieces together,” Ison said in the news conference. “…I don’t have a motive yet.”