There were many heroes this week in the Clackamas Mall. As Clackamas County Sheriff Craig Roberts wrote, there were many “stories of genuine heroism that I’ve heard: people helping complete strangers escape from the violence, employees stepping up to protect their customers, and most especially the courage of the medical professionals who put their own lives at risk in a desperate effort to save the victims of this tragedy.”
One hero whose story hasn’t been widely reported: a man named Nick Meli, who was carrying a concealed Glock that day at the mall. He actually had the shooter in his sights, but he did not pull the trigger because there were other people in the line of fire. You can see an interview with him in the video below.
Now, you might be wondering why I’m calling him a hero even though he didn’t shoot the criminal. It’s very simple — I’m calling him a hero because he is a hero. In the middle of a horrible situation, he had a choice to make, and he made it. He made that choice based on what he knew about his own skills within the dynamics of the situation.
After the criminal saw an armed citizen pointing a gun at him, the criminal ran away from the crowded areas of the mall, into a back hallway, and killed himself. Why did he do that? We’ll never know for sure… but historically, in mass public murders like this, many of the criminals kill themselves as soon as good people with guns arrive on scene. Nick Meli’s action may very well have saved lives.