Doctor optimistic about full recovery for Clackamas shooting victim

Oregon teen suffered gunshot wound

By Stephanie Rice, Columbian Vancouver city government reporter

Published:

Updated: December 12, 2012, 8:20 PM

 
photoKristina Shevchenko

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A trauma surgeon at Oregon Health & Science University said Wednesday afternoon he’s optimistic Kristina Shevchenko, 15, will make a full recovery from injuries sustained in Tuesday’s shooting at Clackamas Town Center.

Police seek witnesses

Witnesses are asked to call the Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office tip line, 503-723-4949.

Dr. Laszlo Kiraly said Shevchenko, a Portland-area resident, was shot in the chest and suffered a collapsed right lung and significant bruising on her lungs and liver. He said shrapnel was removed but it’s difficult to say whether any bullet fragments remain, and that much of the damage could be attributed to a “large blast effect” from being shot by a high-velocity assault rifle.

He said Shevchenko said Wednesday that the first person to thank was Alyona, her friend and schoolmate at Clackamas Middle School, who immediately called 911 and remained by her side until help arrived.

A 22-year-old Portland man, Jacob Tyler Roberts, was identified Wednesday as the gunman.

Roberts shot himself as police converged on him, but not before shooting Steve Forsyth, 45, of West Linn, Ore., Cindy Ann Yuille, 54, of Portland, and Shevchenko. Forsyth and Yuille died at the scene.

Clackamas County Sheriff Craig Roberts released the names of the victims and gunman during a press conference Wednesday morning.

Sheriff Roberts said the gunman was wearing a hockey-style mask and load-bearing vest, which are worn by military personnel. The gunman used an AR-15 semiautomatic rifle that he’d stolen from an acquaintance.

It’s unknown how many shots were fired. The sheriff said the gunman had several fully loaded magazines, and his weapon jammed but he was able to get it working again.

“With two people killed, and a third one in critical condition, all of us have to recognize this was a heartbreaking tragedy by any standard,” Sheriff Roberts said.

“We all need to be thankful that this incident wasn’t much worse.”

Emergency responders were well-prepared for the incident because they had practiced active-shooter techniques at Clackamas Town Center earlier this year, he said.

The mall, one of the largest in the Portland area, was closed Wednesday and will remain closed today, according to mall officials.

An estimated 7,000 shoppers and 2,000 workers were in the mall when the incident occurred at 3:30 p.m. Tuesday.

Sheriff’s Sgt. Adam Phillips said all evidence points to the gunman acting alone.

Investigators said Jacob Roberts parked his Volkswagen Jetta in the mall’s south lot, near Macy’s, then moved through Macy’s toward the food court, where he opened fire. Then Roberts headed east past Macy’s Home Store and into a service stairwell. He went downstairs to the lower level and continued east toward J.C. Penney, where he was found dead by responding officers.

Jacob Roberts was found dead 22 minutes after the first 911 call.

Phillips read statements from the victims’ families.

“Steven Mathew Forsyth was a loving husband, father of two children, son, brother, uncle, youth sports coach and friend to the many people who had the privilege to meet him,” Phillips read.

“Steve was one of the most passionate people, with a true entrepreneurial spirit that drove him to start his business, Coastoms. He had a great sense of humor and a zest of life. He had vision and a belief in others that brought great joy and value to many lives. He will be sorely missed by all who knew him.”

Of Yuille, Phillips read, “Cindy was everybody’s friend. She was a wonderful person who was very caring and put others first.”

Yuille worked as a nurse on Kaiser Permanente’s hospice care team. She was with Kaiser for 16 years. Her husband is also a nurse on the hospice care team, said Dave Northfield, Kaiser spokesman.

August accident

During Wednesday’s press conference at OHSU, Kiraly was asked whether Shevchenko had lingering injuries from a serious traffic accident in August on Lower River Road in Vancouver. Shevchenko was a passenger in a van that was struck head-on by a Ford Ranger driven by Alberto Garcia, who died.

Prior to the shooting, Shevchenko was in good overall health, Kiraly said. He credited first responders for getting her out of a chaotic scene and quickly to OHSU, where the emergency room and operating rooms had been cleared to make space for potential victims. He said Shevchenko was awake when she arrived at OHSU.

“She’s a very brave young woman,” Kiraly said.

She’s stable and in serious condition in the intensive-care unit, he said, surrounded by family members.

“She has no lack of support,” Kiraly said.

While he’s optimistic she’ll make a full recovery, she’s still at risk for infections or other complications, he said. He estimated Shevchenko will be in the hospital for at least another week.

In a statement posted on OHSU’s website, Shevchenko’s parents, Veniamin and Olga Shevchenko, said, “Our family does not wish to do interviews today, or in the future, as we focus our full attention on Kristina’s recovery. We have created a Facebook page where friends and members of the community can leave comments. Individuals wishing to contribute to Kristina’s medical expenses can text the word “SUPPORT” to 28594.”

The Facebook page can be found at https://www.facebook.com/clackamasshooting.

No known motive

Jacob Roberts graduated in 2008 from Oregon City High School. On Wednesday the school’s website had a statement that read, in part: “This news is very shocking to those who knew Jacob while at OCHS. He was known as a soft spoken and polite young man who was often eager to be helpful. The motive for such a horrific act is likely to remain a mystery to us all.

“A tragic incident like this can really shake each of us, especially when it happens in our own community and touches the lives of those close around us. It erodes our sense of safety and security. For some, it surfaces previous trauma. We all respond differently, so please be patient with one another and reach out to offer support to those in need.”

Sheriff Roberts said investigators have not determined a motive for Tuesday’s shooting. Friends said Jacob Roberts had suffered setbacks including a breakup with a girlfriend and an eviction and had said he was going to move to Hawaii but missed his flight, according to The Oregonian.

On Roberts’ Facebook page, he wrote in the “about” section, “I’m the kind of person that is going to do what I want. There is no reason for another person to tell you what to do, I’m the conductor of my choo choo train. I may be young but I have lived one crazy life so far.”


Marissa Harshman contributed to this story.