Eli Dicken, the armed citizen who stopped a mass shooter in an Indiana mall on Sunday, was carrying a pistol under the state’s recently enacted constitutional carry law, which went into effect on July 1. Just 15 seconds after the mass shooter opened fire, Dicken steadied himself on a pole and fired eight to 10 shots, striking the gunman from 40 yards away, police said.
“His actions were nothing short of heroic. He engaged the gunman from quite a distance with a handgun. Was very proficient in that, was tactically sound and as he moved to close in on the suspect, he was also motioning for people to exit behind him,” said Greenwood Police Chief Jim Ison, according to WTHR. “Many people would have died last night if not for a responsible, armed citizen that took action very quickly within the first two minutes of this shooting.”
Ison had released a public statement on Tuesday confirming Dicken had stopped the massacre in just 15 seconds, not two minutes as first reported.
As police evacuated the mall, Dicken’s girlfriend Shay Goldman contacted her grandmother and told her that Dicken protected her from the mass shooter.
“I just know when I got the phone call that she was at the mall, I was scared. She says ‘Grandma I’m OK, but I’m terrified,’ and then she says, ‘Grandma what is the world coming to?’ And she says ‘I don’t think I’ll ever step foot in a mall again,'” the grandmother told WTHR.
“I just know that I’m so proud of him for what he’s done. He saved my granddaughter. I know he did,” she continued. “She said on the phone when she called me, ‘Grandma, I’m OK. Eli pushed me out of the way and told me to get down and stay down,’ and everybody should be proud of him for what he’s done because if not, there would have been a lot more.”
Police said Dicken learned how to shoot from his grandfather, and according to Goldman’s grandmother, she also helped during the terrifying ordeal.
“[Shay Goldman] has been in nursing school for two years. She said she took her coat off and put a tourniquet around it and waited,” her grandmother explained. “She jumped in and went into action, yeah, and it’s just her adrenaline mode to just do that.”
“I’m glad they’re both OK and I’m glad he did what he did, but we need prayers for him. He needs prayers because that’s…to take somebody’s life is hard,” she added. “Just please let’s pray for them. That’s what we need is to pray. And pray for this world!”
Dicken’s attorney Guy A. Relford said in a statement that Dicken is waiting to speak about the shooting to respect those who were killed. According to the Washington Examiner, police identified the victims as: Victor Gomez, 30; Pedro Pineda, 56; and Rosa Mirian Rivera de Pineda, 37.
“I am proud to serve as Eli Dicken’s attorney and spokesperson. He is a true American hero who saved countless lives during a horrific event that could have been so much worse if not for Eli’s courage, preparedness and willingness to protect others,” the statement read.
“Because we want to respect the ongoing criminal investigation by the Greenwood Police Department and take time to honor the three innocent lives lost, we won’t be making any substantive comments on Sunday’s events until after the authorities’ investigation is closed. In the interim, we ask that you respect the privacy of Eli and his family.”