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New Jersey shopping mall gunman shot himself dead: Police

By Supriya Jha | Last Updated: Tuesday, November 5, 2013 - 17:18

Zee Media Bureau/Supriya Jha

New Jersey: A gunman fired over half a dozen shots inside a shopping mall in New Jersey`s Paramus, before killing himself on Monday night, triggering a massive manhunt by police.

The incident took place at Westfield Grand State Plaza mall and the shooter was identified as a 20 year old boy named Richard Shoop, who had a history of drug abuse, informed the police.

Bergen County Prosecutor John Molinelli and Paramus Police Chief Kenneth Ehrenberg held a press conference on early Tuesday morning, saying that the gunman had died of "gunshot-inflicted wound" and his body was found at 3: 20 am from back area of the mall.

The gunman`s main motive behind entire mall gunfire saga was suicide, the prosecutor said.

"We believe the motive was suicide -- either self inflicted, or, God forbid, or suicide by cop," Bergen County Prosecutor John Molinelli said in the press conference. However, he appeared dubious about the idea that the gunman wanted the police to kill him as he killed himself in a very secluded area at the back of the mall.

The police said that the gunman had the opportunity to fire at people but he didn`t. He avoided to harm anyone and instead fired at elevators, stores and the cameras. No mall employees or the customer were harmed as the gunman chose not to fire at people.

Earlier, thousands of people had been evacuated and an army of police officials including the FBI`s SWAT team had joined the manhunt.

FBI`s Special Weapons and Tactics Teams conducted a store-by-store sweep of the mall and later also raided the shooter`s home at Teaneck.

The Police say that they have recovered a note written by the gunman from his home in Teaneck. The details of the note are yet to be released.

Immediately after the reports of the gunfire from the mall, state police, law enforcement officials along with FBI agents swarmed the spot.

Over 200 cars could be seen outside the mall and people were being evacuated.

The gunman fired six shots, according to the police.

The gunfire that rang out at 9: 20 pm, created a chaotic scene at the mall, with people running out in panic.

However, no injuries were reported, confirmed the Mayor of Paramus, Richard Labarbierar.

Westfield Grand State Plaza mall is a key hub for shoppers and is one of the five largest malls in Paramus.

First Published: Tuesday, November 5, 2013 - 12:08
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