No charges will be filed against Elisjsha Dicken, the 22-year-old armed citizen who stopped a mass murderer at an Indiana mall earlier this year.
The announcement came during a press conference on Dec. 21, where Greenwood Police Department Chief James Ison released new details about the perpetrator, and praised Dicken as “a true hero.”
Of the shooter, Ison painted a familiar picture of an anti-social loner who was estranged from his family and had a record of juvenile offenses. In fact, this individual had a spiraling history of online obsession with Nazi Germany and mass murderers.
An ex-girlfriend, who said she wasn’t surprised to learn of the killings, described prior abusive behaviors from this person, such as putting a gun in her mouth during an argument. She said that if he ever killed himself, he would take others with him. Others around him reportedly “joked” that he was “the school-shooter type.” The FBI had received a tip about his online account in 2019, but never located its owner.
Notably, when discussing mass murderers online, the killer had previously written that mass murderers select places where armed citizens can’t carry. “Gun-free zones are a recent phenomenon that by definition cause them to be easy targets,” the individual wrote.
According to police reports, three months prior to the act, the murderer purchased two AR-15 rifles and ammunition. A month before the killings, he had quit his job and, because his father had withdrawn financial support, was about to be evicted. Shortly prior to the murders, he disabled his apartment’s smoke detectors and burned his laptop inside an oven with a butane tank. (Police speculate this may have been an attempt to divert the public safety response.) An hour before the killings, the murderer posted a photo of himself holding a gun to his head and saying it was “a good day to die.”
The murderer then placed both rifles, four loaded magazines and a handgun inside a backpack, walked to the Greenwood Park Mall, and proceeded directly to the food-court bathroom. He spent an hour in the bathroom using the public wi-fi for activities such as searching for his ex-girlfriend online. Shortly before the mall closed, the murderer dropped his cell phone into the toilet, emerged from the bathroom at 5:56 p.m. and began shooting people. The first person he encountered, Victor Gomez, also happened to be carrying concealed that day, but was ambushed at point blank and never had a chance. The shooter then fired at nearby diners Pedro and Rosa Pinedo before firing indiscriminately into the food court.
One of those at risk of being shot was Elisjsha Dicken.
Dicken had come to the food court with his girlfriend for dinner, and was seated next to a column and trash can. The instant the shots rang out, Dicken pushed his girlfriend to the ground, drew his Glock 19, braced himself on the trash can and opened fire at a distance of 42 yards. At this distance, Dicken fired four times, hitting the murderer twice, with Dicken pausing only when panicked shoppers ran through his line of sight.
The injured murderer, rifle still in hand, retreated towards the bathroom. Dicken closed to within 20 yards and shot the murderer with another four shots. The murderer started to go down, but was still struggling to make it to the bathroom. Concerned for potential further carnage, Dicken closed in to about 25 feet and fired twice more. The murderer slumped over and didn’t move.
An unarmed mall security guard then ran up. Dicken told the guard what happened, and the guard intercepted and briefed arriving officers.
“There is no doubt in my mind that Eli Dicken saved many, many lives that night,” Chief Ison told reporters. “He is a true hero.”
America’s 1st Freedom caught up with Eli’s attorney, Guy Relford, as he was retrieving Eli’s handgun from police custody, to learn more about the Greenwood Mall hero.
“Eli is a somewhat shy, really hard-working, all-American man,” Relford explains. “He’s someone who doesn’t want the spotlight. He’s got a really good job as an auto mechanic; he has a girlfriend that he loves; and he really wants to get back to the life he had before the shooting. He knows that he saved lives and he appreciates the accolades and the thanks that he’s gotten. At the same time, he’s still struggling with the idea that he was forced into taking a human life. That’s a big thing for anyone who values human life as Eli does. He’s still coming to grips with that.”
Did he have any special training? “Zero,” Relford says. “Eli was taught by his grandfather how to shoot when he was just nine or ten. That was really it. After the events of 2020, and when he became eligible, he got a permit to carry. He actually didn’t need it because we passed constitutional carry this year, but he had it, and carried as part of his routine, thank God.”
Officers say it only took seconds for Dicken to stop the murderer.
By all indications, there was nothing special about Dicken. He was just a young car mechanic with a Glock. No specialized training. No formal preparation. No fancy equipment. His magazine was loaded with full metal jacket Blazer brass ammunition, and his pistol sights had actually been mangled in a motorcycle accident, weeks prior, and been filed down to make them functional again.
“Having seen the video and seen the results, I have one theory, and it’s that the hand of God was on Eli,” Relford says.
There were also no flagrant warnings or actionable “red flags” for the killer’s behavior. He left no manifesto and no obvious motives. He gave no obvious indications to mall patrons of his impending murder spree, and entered the mall unobserved. “The fact of the matter is, it can happen anywhere,” Chief Ison noted. “When someone makes up their mind to do something evil like this, it’s really hard to stop. I don’t know how you stop that, short of putting metal detectors at every entrance. Sometimes all we can hope for is an Eli Dicken to be in the right place at the right time.”