Why Did Richard Shoop Open Fire Inside Garden State Plaza?
NEW JERSEY 101.5
Wearing black, RIchard Shoop walked into Garden State Plaza in Paramus on Monday night as stores were preparing to close for the day and opened fire with a gun that he stole from his brother but didn’t shoot at any of the hundreds of employees and shoppers inside the mall. Police speculate that he wanted to be killed via “suicide by cop.”
Instead, he took his own life in a remote corner of the 2 million square foot mall.
Beyond that, police aren’t sure what led Shoop to his actions inside New Jersey’s largest shopping mall
“I don’t know as I stand here whether his motive was to injure anyone,” Bergen County Prosecutor John Molinelli told NBC New York. “I do not believe that Mr. Shoop thought he was going to come out of here alive.”
He did leave a suicide note suggesting “suggested that something was going to happen — that he was either going to be arrested and go to jail or die,” Molinelli told the Cliffwood Pilot. Paramus police chief Kenneth R. Ehrenberg at a press conference said Shoop was a heavy.
Police say Shoop came into the mall with several magazines of ammunition according to 7 ABC and continue to investigate his intentions and determine exactly how many times he fired his weapon.
A toxicology report on Shoop’s body will not be complete for weeks.
Shoop’s brother Kevin told NBC New York his family is “devastated” and did not see this coming. “My brother intended to harm nobody else but himself,” Shoop said to reporters gathered outside his family’s home in Teaneck according to ABC 7. “Just sadly, he decided to make an act of self-indulgence by taking his own life publicly. And it’s a tragedy for us all.”
“He just sadly decided to make an act of — an act of, I guess, self-indulgence — by taking his own life publicly,” Kevin Shoop said. “And it’s a tragedy to us all. And we’re going to now handle matters and deal with them.” He called his brother a great person who was liked by his friends and family. Kevin would not comment on allegations of drug use,
A Different View
Friends and co-workers at the Paramus pizzeria paint a different picture of the 20-year-old. Owner Robert Gega described him as “genuinely very nice”who was getting his act together. “He was sobering up,” said Richard Gega, the manager of the Vincent’s Pizzeria. “He was going to the gym. He was fixing his teeth. He was dressing nice. I can’t say why he didn’t talk to somebody. He could have talked to somebody. This didn’t have to happen,” Gega told the Star Ledger.
A friend remembered Shoop as a “sweet kid” while neighbors told the Bergen Record he was a “little bit of a speed demon” and drove a Nissan Z300.
Gega took note that there was “something off” about Shoop the past few weeks. He was concerned that Shoop didn’t show up for work over the weekend.
Wake Up Call
Governor Chris Christie said Shoop’s suicide shows “we need to get at some of the root problems of this and we need to deal with folks who have mental issues before they act out or are violent.” Christie, talking to reporters outside his polling place in Mendham, added, “We’re very fortunate no one else was hurt.”
Christie said state lawmakers haven’t paid enough attention to recommendations made by a task force he formed in the wake of the Newtown, Conn., school shootings last year.
“It is not the sexiest thing to talk about being more aggressive in the mental health area,” he said. “Everybody wants to brandish guns and put them on tables and say, `We’re going to ban this or ban that.’ I’ll tell you the truth, what we have to get to is that every one of these incidents involved a deeply disturbed person who was not getting treatment. We need to get to that and we’ll have a better chance of preventing some of these incidents.”
- Gunman Opens Fire in NJ Mall, Hundreds Trapped Overnight as Police Search / NBC 4
- Gunman dead after Garden State Plaza scare / ABC 7
- Mall gunman’s brother: ‘None of us saw [this] coming’ / Star-Ledger