A man wearing all black fired several shots at the Garden State Plaza mall in Paramus, New Jersey last night, triggering panic and a heavy roll-out of police forces before he committed suicide.
Hours after a volley of shots were fired in Garden State Plaza, trapping customers and store workers for hours as police searched for the gunman, the suspect was found dead inside a construction zone within the mall, authorities said this morning.
There was no indication when he died, but officials said it appeared to be a self-inflicted gunshot wound in the head from a rifle.
Bergen County Prosecutor John Molinelli identified the suspect as Richard Shoop, 20, of Teaneck, who he called a known drug abuser who may have had a criminal record and was unemployed.
Authorities say that Shoop was carrying and ultimately killed himself with a .22-caliber “assault style” (meaning it was black) rifle legally owned (which means it wasn’t even an “assault weapon” under New Jersey’s very restrictive gun laws) by his brother that was taken without permission. It appears that a dramatic suicide or suicide-by-cop was his goal, and that he never pointed the firearm at any witnesses.