Gunman kills himself after opening fire in New Jersey mall

Richard Shoop, shot at least six rounds from a rifle without hitting anyone, before turning the gun on himself.

November 5, 2013 16:11
1 minute read.
Garden State Plaza mall in Paramus, New Jersey,

Garden State Plaza mall in Paramus, New Jersey 370. (photo credit: Reuters)

NEW JERSEY– A gunman who opened fire in a New Jersey shopping mall on Monday night was found dead of a self-inflicted bullet wound to the head early Tuesday morning. No other injuries or deaths have been reported from the incident.

The gunman was identified as Richard R. Shoop, 20, of Teaneck, New Jersey. He is believed to have acted alone, and Bergen County Prosecutor John Molinelli told CNN’s New Day they believed his motives were “suicide by cop.”

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“We know that his intent was either suicide or to do something that would cause police to shoot him,” Molinelli said.

He added that the suspect had a history of drug abuse, and that Shoop did leave “an ambiguous note” for his family that “referenced an end coming.”

Police, backed by dozens of cruisers, evacuated thousands of people from the Garden State Plaza shopping mall and launched a manhunt shortly before closing time on Monday, officials said.

A few witnesses told local outlets they heard five shots fired, but only a single shot was confirmed, Mayor Richard LaBarbiera of Paramus, New Jersey told reporters.

“Everyone is safe,” he said.

Televised images from outside showed a heavy police presence with dozens of cruisers converging on the mall, located about 20 miles northwest of New York City. CNN, citing witnesses, reported that the shooter had fired at security cameras.

The incident comes two months after a group of al Qaida-linked terrorists launched an attack on a mall in Nairobi that killed 67 people, and mere days after a similar incident occurred at Los Angeles International Airport, in which one airport security guard was killed.

Najee Waters, 19, of East Rutherford, New Jersey, was at his sales job at an H&M clothing store when he heard what sounded like two shots ring out.

“It was frantic. Absolutely chaos,” said Waters, who followed a practiced store emergency plan and rushed to a break room at the back of the store, where about a dozen workers gathered before dashing out to the parking lot.

About 25 customers were in the store at the time.

The Garden State Plaza mall, owned by Australia’s Westfield Group, is one of five large malls in Paramus, known as a key shopping destination in the New York Metropolitan area.

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