On Sunday evening, a sniper armed with a semi-automatic rifle opened fire on the Forum shopping center in northeast Bend. According to the Bend Police Department, the shooter first fired shots in the mall parking lot, killing one person, before driving into a Safeway and killing another person. The police found the body of the deceased shooter in the back of the store, along with two weapons, including a semi-automatic rifle. No shootings were reported by Bend police, although the investigation into the shooting is ongoing. Anthony Broadman is Bend’s Pro Tem Mayor and Alderman. He joins us in sharing updates on the shooting and the impact of this latest incidence of gun violence on the community.
Note: The following transcript was created by a computer and edited by a volunteer.
David Miller: This is Think Out Loud on OPB, I’m Dave Miller. We start today with a shooting that happened in Bend last night. It happened outside and inside the Safeway at the Forum shopping center in the east of the city. Police say a gunman killed two people with a semi-automatic rifle. The shooter is also dead. Police said they did not fire any shots. Anthony Broadman is Bend City Council member and Pro Tem Mayor, he joins us with more. Anthony Broadman, welcome back.
Anthony Broadman: Hi Dave, good afternoon.
Miller: Thanks for join us. Bend police are going to hold another press conference in about 20 minutes. But can you give us an idea of the current situation for what we know?
broadman: Well, my town is heartbroken, Dave. It was a dark night in Bend last night. I think right now we are mourning the families, the friends of the two people we lost last night
We confirmed this morning that this investigation remains active, but we don’t believe there is any other immediate danger from last night’s shooting, which is a small comfort after last night’s tragedy.
Miller: To answer that specifically, there had been reports on social media, or just people saying on social media, that there was more than one shooter. So what you’re saying is it’s been verified that it’s not true?
broadman: This has not been confirmed, correct. We believe this shooter is deceased.
Miller: Has anything yet been made public about the victims?
broadman: Nope. This investigation is still very active as we speak. So we will have a briefing at 12:30 p.m.
What I can say is that I am extremely grateful to the first responders, the citizens who may have prevented this from getting much, much worse. We are still trying to get the details as to why the shooter was arrested. I’m heartbroken for my city and I’m also glad it’s not much worse. Extremely scary. 12 hours.
Miller: The Bend Police Department posted a tweet at 7:30 p.m. last night saying “there is an active investigation in the Forum Mall area. Please avoid the area. More updates to come as the investigation continues. And then it was a little over an hour and a half later before they posted another tweet saying there had been a shooting. In the meantime, many people in Bend were confused and scared, and there was a lot of what now appears to be misinformation rampant. Did you have any idea what was going on during this period?
broadman: I had a little common sense. But as I said, it was a very active investigation. There were several items in this investigation that, due to information shared with law enforcement, needed to be researched and confirmed to be inaccurate or accurate.
But I think you just identified the point of these types of mass shootings. They are too fear mongering. They are there to terrorize us. And one of the reasons many of us are in governments is to bring some order to the chaos and evil that we saw last night. And we obviously still have a lot of work ahead of us as a country, state and city.
Miller: I understand there was a lot of confusion that needed to be sorted out last night. But even considering that, what do you think about the level of communication from the Bend Police Department last night?
broadman: You know, I was really proud of the whole multi-agency response to this tragedy. I was on the phone with the governor right after the shooting. The state police was there, the FBI was there. We worked closely with the Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office. And I truly believe, without civilian heroes and brave first responders, it could have been much worse.
Miller: Why do you say that?
broadman: That’s the information I think we hope to talk about at 12:30. That potentially this shooter was arrested. We know the Bend Police Department did not shoot, and we are waiting to confirm, hopefully within the next 30 minutes to an hour, additional facts about how the shooter was prevented from continuing his murder.
Miller:Obviously we will follow this and we may provide updates during this broadcast as more information becomes more available to the public. What you seem to be talking about cautiously is the possibility that another Safeway customer was the one who shot the alleged shooter, if I heard you correctly.
broadman: I don’t think we have any indication of another move or a buyer, and I don’t want to speculate because I’m getting this information in real time as we learn more about what happened unfolded in that horrible night inside a grocery store where we all do our shopping. But again I hope to get more information about what happened.
Miller: We are, as Americans, far from having the luxury, if that’s the right word, of being surprised by shooting like that. They are an everyday aspect of life in this country, and of death in this country. I looked at the gun violence archives this morning and there were six mass shootings in the United States yesterday alone. And what happened in Bend was not on the list because their cut is that at least four or more people must be shot or killed in a single incident, not including the shooter. How did you think of these two things at the same time: the trauma of this shooting for the people of Bend on the one hand, and the routine on the other hand?
broadman: It would be totally naive to think that would ever happen here, because we have such a deep gun problem as a country. And it’s cultural, it’s political, it’s spiritual, but it’s here, it’s everywhere. I am very afraid of numbness. And I’m afraid these won’t be noticed because they’re going to become so frequent and so regular. And that’s not acceptable to me. That shouldn’t be acceptable to any American, that where we worship, where we shop, where we learn, it’s not safe.
I’ve already spoken all morning with people from our delegation, spoken with the governor last night. I know you have a city council here full of gun safety advocates. We know what works, we know that common sense gun regulations can prevent gun deaths, whether suicides or terrorist mass shootings as we have seen potentially overnight last. But I think you’ve identified the central problem, David. It’s oscillating between numbness and the fear that it will become very regular everywhere we go.
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