PARAMUS, N.J. (PIX11) — The suspect in the Westfield Garden State Plaza Mall shooting is dead, having killed himself in a remote area of the mall. The suspect, Richard Shoop, 20, of Teaneck, N.J., acted alone, police said.
His body was discovered by SWAT teams at 3:20 a.m. with a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head. He used a rifle that authorities say he stole from his brother. He had a history of drug abuse, including MDMA or Molly, officials said at a news conference.
Monday night, while there were thousands of shoppers still in the stores, Shoop allegedly fired six rounds indiscriminately in the mall about 9 p.m. but struck nobody. His rifle had been modified to look like an AK-47.
He committed suicide in a long-term storage area behind a construction zone in the mall, police said at a news conference after 4 a.m. Tuesday.
He was wearing a motorcycle helmet , blue jeans and a black outfit, officials said. Authorities said they were confident the entire night that, having secured a perimeter around the mall, that the suspect had not managed to get away.
Some 400 people were locked into the stores when the lockdown went into effect. Thousands of others scrambled out of the mall in a panic after Shoop allegedly opened fire in an open area of the mall.
Police entered the mall immediately after arriving at the mall, which is 2.5 million square feet. Shoop got away, disappearing into the vast mall.
Officials are checking to ensure that people still left at the mall are aware it is now safe to go. About 400 were left in lockdown when after the shooting.
The mall will remained closed for the remainder of the day.
Officials said they have spoken to Shoop’s family and have a clear idea of his mindset in the past few days Officials have not made any arrests, and have no plans to do so.