Now, authorities have identified the 20-year-old as Richard Shoop, after his body was found in the back area of the mall around 2:30 a.m. He is said to have died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
The gun he used belonged to his brother, Bergen County prosecutor John Molinelli said at an early morning news conference.
Molinelli also mentioned that the troubled young man, who has had a history of drug abuse, didn’t have intentions to injure shoppers or employees at the mall.
“The mall was closing in about 10 minutes so there were thousands of people and many people just surrounding him and the fact that he shot into the ceiling or randomly at other things, we don’t think he went in there with the intent to shoot anyone. We think he went in there with the intent that he was not going to come out alive.”
Police also found an ambiguous note at Shoop’s home, but Molinelli isn’t calling it a suicide note just yet.
“I’m hesitant to say it’s a suicide note. It does express that an end is coming. It could have been prison. It could have been what he did last night but it’s certainly something that gave his family reason to reach out to us sometime after 10 p.m. last night,” Molinelli said.
Police are continuing their investigation and are still sweeping the 2.2-million-square-foot building in Paramus to make sure all shoppers and employees are evacuated.
According to ABC, about 400 people were still inside the mall when police ordered a lockdown of the entire building. Shoop, however, was the only casualty.
We’ll keep you updated on any developments in this case.
SOURCE: ABC | PHOTO CREDIT: Bergen County Police