When a man armed with a rifle began shooting at a Greenwood mall on Sunday, 22-year-old Elisjsha Dicken quickly stepped in, using the handgun he was legally carrying to neutralize the gunman and stop any further damage.
The gunman, 20-year-old Johnathan Sapirman, had begun shooting after spending more than an hour in the mall’s bathroom “getting ready” for the attack, according to Greenwood’s chief of police. Sapirman had then exited the bathroom and fired off a total of 24 rifle rounds, killing three individuals and injuring two others.
Before the man was able to harm anyone else, however, Dicken sprung into action, motioning for bystanders to exit behind him and neutralizing the gunman after shooting 10 rounds from his handgun.
In the aftermath of the shooting, Dicken was praised by many as a “Good Samaritan” — an undeniable hero whose bravery and swift action saved an untold number of lives. “Many more people would have died last night if a responsible armed citizen hadn’t been present,” said Greenwood Police Chief James Ison.
“The shooter was confronted by our Good Samaritan,” Ison added later. “The Good Samaritan was armed with a pistol and engaged the shooter as he stood outside the restroom area firing into the food court. [Dicken] fired several rounds, striking the suspect. The suspect attempted to retreat back into the restroom [but] fell to the ground after being shot.”
Greenwood’s mayor and the mall in which the shooting occurred both echoed Ison’s praise, referring to Dicken as a “Good Samaritan” and celebrating his “heroic actions.”
Some, however, felt the praise being heaped on the young man who cut a horrific tragedy short was undeserved.
“The term ‘Good Samaritan’ came from a Bible passage of a man from Samaria who stopped on the side of the road to help a man who was injured and ignored. I cannot believe we live in a world where the term can equally apply to someone *killing* someone… my God,” journalist Justin Kollar tweeted after the incident.
In a separate tweet, Kollar also implied that the Greenwood Police shouldn’t have been “thankful” for Dicken’s actions, since the mall’s code of conduct prohibits carrying firearms.