Months after the tragic mass shooting in Greenwood, witnesses continue battling with trauma

On a Sunday two days following her 18th birthday, Delanie Brewer was shopping at Greenwood Park Mall.

They were on their way to the parking lot outside Dick’s Sporting Goods store. After spending a few hours browsing through stores like Vans and Delanie, her boyfriend and Delanie walked towards the food court area.

As they rounded the bend, several loud sounds erupted.

She and everyone in her vicinity became motionless.

Out of nowhere, she experienced a sense of utter vulnerability. A profound sensation emerged in the core of her being.

She and her partner began jogging.

“At that moment, we didn’t truly comprehend what was occurring,” she expressed.

On a typical Sunday, the Mall Park Greenwood is bustling and alive with people of all ages constantly rushing in and out of the mall, carrying bags and pushing strollers. The automatic doors are constantly opening and closing as the mall is filled with other items and a variety of people.

The floors are spotless. Chairs are arranged neatly, with four or five per table.

The man is holding a round, black plastic tray topped with small, clear cups of sitting chicken. Near the entrance to the restrooms, a young man offers samples of Asian food from Chao’s, located in the back corner.

Months after the tragic mass shooting in Greenwood, witnesses continue battling with trauma Months after the tragic mass shooting in Greenwood, witnesses continue battling with trauma ❮ ❯

On July 17, 2022, Jonathan Douglas Sapirman, who was holding a firearm, was fatally shot by an armed onlooker after he had already taken the lives of three individuals. He remained in the exact location where the incident occurred.

For those who were present at the shopping center during the shooting incident, time has not served to heal the trauma, and it has been a duration of eight months since that particular day.

As of 2023, there have been a total of 93 incidents recorded. In the preceding year of 2022, a single report indicated that the United States experienced no less than 647 instances of mass shootings. However, there is currently no universally agreed upon definition for what qualifies as a mass shooting.

With only 365 days in a year, the math becomes simple. Numerous occurrences of mass shootings per day are widespread in the United States.

The recurring and continuous terror and astonishment will never become commonplace.

Rachel Guglielmo, the volunteer leader of Moms Demand Action in Indiana, stated, “There are people who have been directly affected by them, and there is no numbness.” “I am confident that you are experiencing a wide range of reactions. I am certain that you are not feeling numb. Imagine if you were a person who was having lunch at the mall on that day in court.”

Guglielmo stated that the constant violence, which may indirectly affect survivors of mass shootings in the U.S., Has also contributed to the consistent nature of these events, resulting in a nation of people experiencing direct trauma.

Educational establishments. Shopping malls. Theaters. Religious sites. Parades. Grocery stores. College campuses. All places that people now have a reason to feel anxious about.

“That is so strongly abnormal that it is entirely unacceptable,” Guglielmo stated.

Some residents of Greenwood will never set foot in the shopping center again.

He had two firearms, a handgun, and 100 rounds of bullets in his control. Sapirman proceeded to enter the shopping center at 4:54 p.M. And promptly made his way to the restroom located in the food court.

He spent sixty minutes and two minutes in the restroom before coming out and starting to film.

Everyone in the shopping center halted simultaneously and rotated their heads as soon as the gunshots resounded.

Shouts were exclaimed and everyone began to flee. Individuals were tripping, pushing and jostling one another.

Delanie’s ears were ringing as she ran through the tunnel. The shots rang out, and the deafening silence that followed was now irrelevant.

She stated, “in that manner, your physique is sort of attempting to shield you and you can go as swiftly and as intensely as you’re simply sprinting.”

It felt as though someone were sitting on her, she characterized the sensation as a fiery sensation in her chest. Delanie experienced coughing up substances for the entire week due to the intensity of her running.

The next day, I felt like I had gotten hit by a car, which is a kind of adrenaline rush come-down.

She had the entire mall ahead of her. She was running swiftly in the opposite direction from where she had left her vehicle.

Delanie expressed, “I will be fine even if I perish. If I am struck by a bullet, I will make an effort to persevere. If there is a possibility of something happening to me, I have mentally prepared myself that everything will be alright. I had quite a distance to cover while I was running.”

Sapirman was apprehended by Elisjsha Dicken, an armed onlooker who discharged his firearm at the attacker following the injuring of five individuals and the death of three.

Victor Gomez, a 30-year-old, Pedro Piñeda, a 56-year-old spouse, and Rosa Mirian Rivera de Piñeda, 37, were the three individuals affected. A gunshot injury to the leg injured a 22-year-old female, and a fragment of a bullet struck a 12-year-old girl.

Shoppers in need of shelter at the shopping center were later escorted out of the premises by police officers, while walking past the eating section.

The supervisor at Coach store, Katherine Duke, left behind personal belongings like wallets and phones. Bags were dropped everywhere, strollers were tipped over. Adult to baby sizes of all kinds of shoes were scattered across the light grey floor.

Clean-up efforts following the shooting had yet to begin, and police officers were screaming at the groups of patrons to not look.

Duke exclaimed, “I know exactly what happened because walking through the mall afterwards was the worst feeling I’ve ever had.” “The mall was in a state of complete chaos.”

In July 2021, the population stood at slightly less than 65,000. Greenwood, Indiana, is positioned to the south of Indianapolis, where the Greenwood Park Mall is found.

Typically bustling is the shopping center, and the mall always greets new stores with open arms. It serves as the central spot for middle schoolers to hang out, shop for prom dresses, go on family outings, and much more. The mall is situated in the parking lot of the town’s water tower.

Elizabeth Zieles, a resident of Greenwood, expressed, “I have been visiting that place for many years ever since we moved here. I believed it was a secure location. I usually go there once or twice every month, and it never crossed my mind that anything unfortunate would ever occur there.”

Months after the tragic mass shooting in Greenwood, witnesses continue battling with trauma

Elizabeth made sure to ask her son and daughter-in-law for permission. She said goodbye to her family members and cowered in the back of the store, where she had a slight fear of returning to the building just a month prior, when she took her granddaughter to Bear-A-Build and wanted to take her there again for her birthday in August.

Prior to the unfortunate event, Elizabeth frequently accompanied her family members to the shopping center. She has resided in the Greenwood vicinity for a span of 27 years.

Now, visiting that place, she mentioned that she experiences a “pull in her heart.”

In a recent instance, Sapirman also remembered that she had worn a backpack. She had plans of going to the mall and saw a man wearing a backpack until she parked her car outside.

“I wouldn’t exit my vehicle until he departed,” Elizabeth mentioned.

Katie Walesky is the only person who refuses to go out in public alone now, and there were never any other people who went back to the mall since the shooting, even though Elizabeth has been there every day.

Katie and her sister Ally were leaving the mall when they heard gunshots, as they were passing by the food court.

Cleared for any strenuous activity such as running, since she was recuperating, Ally had recently had ACL surgery. Outside the mall, Katie, who was already in the lead, was shouting for her sister. After a brief moment, Ally called back as quickly as possible, limping along.

The sisters had been through a rough patch, and now they wished they could reconnect and share the trauma they had experienced. They slept in the same bed together.

Ally mentioned that Katie served as a constant reminder of that particular day for her for a period of time.

Katie stated, “Every individual in the locality is acquainted with someone who was purchasing or employed on that particular day.” Slightly more than 10 minutes away from the shopping center, they both completed their education at Roncalli High School. Katie and Ally were raised in the vicinity.

Katie expressed, “How could such an event occur in such proximity to our residence?” “We were all completely taken aback,” we managed to recover from the initial shock by reassuring ourselves that ‘we are all unharmed’ afterwards.

Now, her initial consideration when venturing out in public is locating every conceivable exit. She remains highly conscious of her environment.

Ally feels like a piece of innocence held away from that day, as she said she doesn’t want to return to the mall and risk her life, even though she feels that way.

Ally said, “Bad things do happen, but they won’t last forever. Even though they may seem so big, they can change with a shift in mindset.”

Delanie’s birthday shopping excursion transformed into her fleeing for her survival.

She wouldn’t even recognize the mall if she were to return. After the shooting, she couldn’t take a single step in any public place, most familiar ones included.

In the upcoming days, she must gather the strength to go back to work, despite her fears. In July, she encountered people at the mall who were similar to her.

However, now remains a reminder of the day in which only the people who stood between her and a shooting man, a gun had stopped for meal before closing time.

Three of whom have passed away.