A New Jersey mall shooting occurred Monday night when a lone gunman fired multiple shots sending shoppers scrambling for the exits
and triggering a lockdown of the state's largest mall. The suspect was later found dead.
The gunman, 20-year-old Richard Shoop of Teaneck, N.J., was found with a self-inflicted wound. No other individuals were injured in the mall shooting, the Associated Press reported
On Tuesday, Bergen County Prosecutor John Molinelli told reporters that Shoop's body was found in a back area of Paramus' Garden State Plaza mall with a note on his person and his weapon nearby. The contents of the note were not released.
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Police are reportedly still seeking a motive for the shooting.
"Not many people run for their life, but that's what I'm doing right now," Jessica Stigliano, 21, of Ridgefield, N.J. told the AP after fleeing the food court shortly after the shooting.
Nick Woods, a Lego store employee, says he was made aware of the shooting when a woman ran by his shop as he was getting ready to close it yelling that there had been a shooting.
"I had to go out of the store shouting at the officers with my hands up, and they turned and pointed their guns at me," Woods told the AP. "It was one of the scariest experiences of my life."
The shooting occurred shortly before the mall's closing time of 9:30 p.m. when a man dressed in black and wearing what appeared to be a motorcycle helmet fired shots into the air, according to witnesses.
Hundreds of law enforcement officers subsequently converged on the 2.2 million-square-foot mall, as SWAT teams concentrated their search on the northeast corner near a Nordstrom store, where the shooter was believed to be hiding out, Bergen County spokeswoman Jeanne Baratta told the AP.
Police with K-9 units subsequently swept the mall after it was evacuated before they were able to find Shoop's body at approximately 3:20 a.m., according to Paramus Police Chief Kenneth Ehrenberg. The shooter's body was found in an area of the mall that was closed to the public, though the Shoop was not believed to have been a mall employee.
The mall, which consists of more than 270 stores, will remain closed on Tuesday as police further investigate the shooting.
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