(TEANECK, N.J.) — The family of a New Jersey man who opened fired inside a Bergen County mall Monday night doesn’t know what drove him to do it or, later, take his own life.
Authorities identified the suspect as Richard Shoop, 20, of Teaneck and said his body was found in a back area of the Westfield Garden State Plaza Mall around 3:20 a.m. ET Tuesday. It’s believed Shoop fired six shots with a rifle owned by his older brother, Kevin Shoop. No one else was hurt during the brief shooting spree.
Interviewed on Tuesday, Kevin Shoop admitted “This was something that none of us saw coming” while insisting that his troubled brother, who worked as a pizza deliveryman, never intended to harm anyone.
Kevin speculated, “He just sadly decided to make an act of, I guess, self-indulgence, by taking his own life publicly, and it’s a tragedy to us all.”
Robert Gega, manager of Victor’s Pizzeria and Restaurant on Cedar Lane in Teaneck, said that Richard had been keeping things to himself recently but as far as his alleged drug use was concerned, “He was sobering up.” Gega also called his late employee, “Just a great guy.”
Meanwhile, Bergen County prosecutor John Molinelli told ABC’s Good Morning America that Richard only shot at the “ceiling or at other things,” adding, “We think he went in there with the intent that he was not going to come out alive.”
The shooting forced the 2.2-million-square-foot building in Paramus to go into lockdown with hundreds of shoppers and employees having to wait hours before they could be safely escorted out of the mall.
Westfield Garden State Plaza Mall was closed on Tuesday as a result, but will open its doors to customers on Wednesday.
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