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What we know about the armed civilian who killed Greenwood gunman

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Posted at 5:26 PM, Jul 18, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-19 16:00:01-04

GREENWOOD — On Sunday, a lone gunman entered the Greenwood Park Mall food court armed with two rifles and a pistol and opened fire.

After hearing the gunfire, according to police, Elisjsha Dicken, 22, of Seymour fired the handgun he was carrying and attempted to stop the shooter. His gunfire hit the gunman and killed him, according to police.

Dicken gave permission for authorities to release his name, age and hometown, but has declined to speak publicly about the shooting as he continued to process what occurred.

According to Greenwood Police Chief James Ison, Dicken was shopping at the mall with his girlfriend.

On Monday, Ison explained during the shooting at 5:57 p.m., less than two minutes after the gunfire began, Dicken engaged with the gunman.

On Tuesday, Chief Ison updated the timeline by offering the following statement.

I would like to make a correction on a statement made yesterday at the 2 p.m. press conference concerning the Greenwood Park Mall shooting. There was an error in the timeline of events given. The time lapse between the moment that Jonathan Sapirman exited the restroom and began shooting, and when he was shot by the civilian (Elisjsha Dicken) was only fifteen seconds, not two minutes. The surveillance video shows Sapirman exited the restroom at 5:56:48 p.m. He was neutralized by Dicken at 5:57:03 p.m. This error was simply a result of misreading notes during the conference. I feel the need to correct this immediately. Thank you.

“I will say his actions were nothing short of heroic. He engaged the gunman from quite a distance with a handgun,” Ison said. "(He) was very tactically sound as he moved to close in on the suspect, he was also motioning for people to exit behind him. He has no police training and no military background.”

Ison explained to WRTV, Dicken’s first shot at the gunman was from 40-50 yards away and it appeared the very first shot hit the gunman.

Dicken was able to hit the gunman with additional rounds.

On Tuesday, Johnson County Coroner Mike Pruitt said an autopsy found the suspect had eight gunshot wounds and none were self-inflicted.

Dicken was carrying a 9-MM Glock, according to Ison. After confirming the shooter was no longer a threat, Dicken approached mall security and cooperated with officers, according to Ison. He was handcuffed and questioned by officers, but released upon verification of his actions via surveillance video.

In Indiana, beginning July 1, carrying a handgun no longer required a permit.

According to Ison, Dicken did not have a permit for his handgun, but due to the passage of the “Constitutional Carry” bill in Indiana, he was legally carrying the weapon.

“I am 100% certain that many more people would have died last night if it wasn’t for his heroism,” Ison said.

The Greenwood Park Mall, a Simon Property Group property, is a weapon-free location according to their code of conduct.

However, in a statement from H.PR spokesperson on behalf of the Simon Property Group, the armed civilian was commended.

“We grieve for the victims of yesterday’s horrific tragedy in Greenwood. Violence has no place in this or any other community. We are grateful for the strong response of the first responders, including the heroic actions of the Good Samaritan who stopped the suspect.”

Other citizens have spoken out in recognition of the actions of Dicken.

"The guy is a hero. How many more people would not be around right now," Frank Baecher, a Beech Grove resident said.

"If I had a medal, I would like to pin that on him because I believe he is a true hero,” Howard Dardeen, a central Indiana resident said. “He had seconds to think about it. It might have been minutes before the police got there and might have been more people killed. We are so glad to hear what he did. We would like to honor him in someway shape or form."

The Law Offices of Guy A. Relford, who are representing Dicken, has released the following statements:

"Eli has been touched by the graciousness and kind thoughts from all over the world. At the same time this is a hard situation to process. He appreciates the community but at this time we will not be making any public comment itself. I think what we have seen from Greenwood police is they have been fantastic, very professional and we really thank them.”

"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 ongoing 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."

WRTV Senior Digital Content Producer Andrew Smith contributed to this report.