Last’s night latest mass shooting event, just three days after a comparable situation at LAX airport, and this time just minutes away from New York City, is over with the alleged gunman, Richard Shoop, 20, taking his life.
The gunman who opened fire inside a sprawling New Jersey mall was found dead inside the mall early this morning with a self-inflicted gunshot wound, authorities said.
Authorities identified the suspect as Richard Shoop, 20, of Teaneck, N.J., and said his body was found in a back area of mall around 3:20 a.m.
Police discovered his body more than six hours after they say Shoop entered the Westfield Garden State Plaza Mall Monday night and fired his weapon at least six times, Bergen County Prosecutor John Molinelli said at an early morning news conference. The gun, described as a modified rifle, was owned lawfully by his brother, Molinelli said.
Police are still sweeping the 2.2-million-square-foot building in Paramus to make sure all shoppers and employees evacuated. About 400 people were still inside the mall when police ordered a lockdown of the entire building.
There have been no other reported injuries at this time.
Shoop, according to Molinell, has a history of drug abuse and is known to law enforcement in Bergan County. Molinell said Shoop’s drug of choice was MDMA, also known as “Molly.”
Police found a suicide note at Shoop’s home, but did not disclose what was written.
Bergan County spokeswoman Jeanne Baratta said the first call came in shortly after 9 p.m. that a gunman was inside the mall. Police initially responded to an “active shooter” alert after reports of multiple shots fired.
Baratta said SWAT teams and other police agencies converged on the mall. Authorities swept the mall because they were unsure whether the gunman was still inside. Paramus Mayor Rich LaBarbiera intially said police found one shell casing inside the mall.
Panicked shoppers raced toward the exits or hid inside the mall. Witnesses said they saw authorities running inside the mall with their weapons drawn. The mall was immediately placed on lockdown.
Multiple eyewitnesses said the shooter was armed with some kind of rifle, wearing a motorcycle-style helmet and black clothing.
WATCH: Police Respond to Shooting at New Jersey Shopping Mall
Mall restaurant employee Joseph Rivera said his co-workers saw the suspect “…in full body armor. He had a huge rifle and a helmet on.”
Eric Delgado, 20, was shopping with friends inside the mall when heard a gunshot and saw the gunman. After Delgado saw the gunman, he along with seven others hid in a dressing room for 45 minutes and heard a second gunshot.
“He didn’t seem that he wanted to kill anyone because he clearly could of because there were people two feet in front of him that he could have shot at, but he didn’t shoot at them. Instead he shot towards the ceiling…” Delgado said.
A staging area has been set up near Chili’s Grill & Bar for family members to be reunited with anyone inside the mall during the lockdown.
Law enforcement officials have been informed by management of the Garden State Plaza Mall that it will be closed today. No word on when it will re-open.
The Garden State Plaza Mall, about 25 miles west of New York City, features more than 300 retail stores including Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom, Lord & Taylor, Gucci and Louis Vuitton.
via Zero Hedge http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/zerohedge/feed/~3/6stfRhazE9Q/story01.htm Tyler Durden