Police say Dicken was shopping with his girlfriend Sunday at the Greenwood Park Mall when he stopped at a cookie counter close to the mall’s main thoroughfare.
When the gunman exited the restroom, beginning his shooting spree, police say what Dicken did was heroic.
Armed with a handgun, police say Dicken engaged the shooter from a distance.
Police say he was very proficient and tactically sound. Dicken started making his way towards the gunman, motioning for people to leave behind him. The gunman tried to retreat back into the restroom, but Dicken continued on, shooting the suspect until he fell.
When police arrived, they say Dicken approached mall security, telling them that he was the one that neutralized the shooter. He waited with security until police arrived.
Police took him to the Greenwood Police Department while they watched the security video and spoke with other witnesses to confirm what Dicken told them. During the whole process, police say Dicken fully cooperated.
Police say Dicken managed to save lives despite having no police training or military background.
“Our city, our community, and our state is grateful for his heroism in this situation,” said Greenwood Mayor Mark Myers.
Police also confirmed that Dicken was carrying a gun under the constitutional carry law that went into effect July 1.
While mass shootings have become a common occurrence in the United States, they rarely end the way the Greenwood Park Mall did, data show. Less than 3% of the active attacks in the U.S. between 2000 and 2021 were stopped by a civilian returning fire, according to the Associated Press, which cited a study from the Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response Training Center at Texas Sate University.
Such attacks ended far more frequently with bystanders subduing the gunman or police killing the attacker, according to a breakdown of the center’s national data cited by the New York Times.
Dicken has retained the Law Office of Guy Relford to act as his spokesperson. In a statement, Relford called Dicken a “true American hero.”
I am proud to serve as Eli Dickens’ 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. Because we want to respect the on-going 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.Guy A. Relford