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Holiday horror as three left dead after gunman opens fire in US mall

A masked gunman wearing camouflage opened fire in a busy US mall, leaving the gunman and two others dead and forcing the mall's Santa Claus and hundreds of Christmas shoppers and employees to flee or hide among store displays.

Austin Patty (20), who works at Macy's department store in the shopping centre in Portland, Oregan, said he saw a man in a white mask carrying a rifle and wearing a bulletproof vest. He heard the gunman say, "I am the shooter," as if announcing himself. A series of rapid-fire shots in short succession followed as Christmas music played. Mr Patty said he ducked to the ground and then ran.


Witnesses said he started firing just outside Macy's in the food court of Clackamas Town Center on Tuesday.

Brance Wilson, the mall Santa, said he heard gunshots and dove for the floor. By the time he looked up, seconds later, everyone around him had cleared out. Merchandise was scattered in some stores as he made his way to the door.

"Santa will be back," Mr Wilson said. "It's not going to keep Santa away from the mall."

Parents with children joined other shoppers rushing to stores' backrooms for safety as teams of police officers began entering the mall to find the shooter.

Clackamas county sheriff's Lieutenant James Rhodes said the gunman was dead, apparently from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. A shopper said he saw a man lying on the floor with a gun next to him.

Authorities went store-to-store to confirm there was only one shooter and to escort hiding shoppers outside, Mr Rhodes said.

Officials said a woman was also shot and was in serious condition at a Portland hospital.