SEVIERVILLE, Tenn. — A flurry of 911 calls immediately after a random shooting at the Tanger outlet mall in Sevierville are revealing more details about what witnesses saw and heard.
Caller: “I’m at the Tanger outlets and the Coach where someone just got shot twice.”
Caller: “Hi, this is [omitted] at American Eagle. The man just shot himself outside my store.”
Dispatcher: “OK, alright, I've got officers on their way.”
911 dispatchers received more than a dozen calls within minutes after police said 21-year-old Leon Jones confronted and shot two strangers, 24-year-old Olivia Cunningham of York, Pa. and 75-year-old John Marr of Templeton, Mass. outside the Coach store in the busy outlet mall, before he turned the gun on himself.
Cunningham was fatally wounded, while Marr survived. Jones died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
Some callers described hearing four shots, others just three.
One woman was calling 911 even as she was ushering customers in her store to safety.
Caller: “There was four gunshots ... go go go go to the back ... I heard gunshots and someone came in."
Dispatcher: "Ma'am, did you see someone shot?"
Caller: "...someone came in and said someone had been shot.”
Another caller was able to give important information about the victims to dispatchers.
Caller: “Hey, can you get somebody down here? We got two people shot in front of Coach, a male and a female.”
Police were dispatched to the mall immediately after the first 911 call. Investigators believe it's possible that Jones may have shot himself when he heard the sirens on the way.
It was clear to many of the callers that Jones was fatally wounded.
Caller: “The guy shot himself.”
Caller: "It (the gun) fell in front of him and then a woman ran to him. All I could tell is he was a black man face down, blood, the gun was outside of his hand, three shots...four fired.”
Caller: “I’m pretty sure he’s dead.”
An off-duty police officer was one of the first to get to the victims and he called in what he knew. From his call, it appears that both Cunningham and Jones were shot in the head.
Caller: "We got one that’s still breathing ... the other one appears to be DOA. They were shot in the head once, maybe twice in the head."
While authorities have not released details about the shooting, the 911 callers seem to indicate that Marr may have been shot in the chest while sitting on a bench, or he ended up on the bench after he was shot.
Caller: “There is a second gentleman who was shot in the process of the man who shot himself.”
Caller: “There is actually a man sitting next to him on the bench who was shot ... He is now inside of our store, he was shot in the chest at some point ... He is sitting upright ... We are applying pressure, but he is an older gentleman.”
It sounds like bystanders rushed to help the 75-year-old man, taking him into one of the stores and doing what they could.
Caller: "He was shot in the right side of his chest across the breast area, he is bleeding, he's upright and an elderly gentleman.”
Dispatchers gave first aid advice to the people working to save Marr.
Dispatcher: “Since you all are trying to help him and apply pressure, if whatever you’re using becomes soaked, don’t try to move it just add more to it.”
Store workers were also trying to keep their customers and employees safe in those scary moments during and after the shooting.
Caller: “Lock the doors!”
Caller: “We just locked our doors and pulled our customers to the back.”
Once police arrived and cleared the scene, they allowed customers to leave the stores after they talked to them. Other than the stores that were near the crime scene, the rest of the mall was allowed to reopen for several hours, but they closed early at 6 p.m. to give investigators more freedom to work.
Investigators are still working to determine a motive for the shootings and Jones' suicide.