First a shooting at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) this weekend and now a shooting at the Garden State Plaza mall, what is this world coming to? Will this unnecessary violence ever end? On Monday night, around the mall’s closing time, a man in a black hoodie walked into the mall and began firing shots in the air and at security cameras. Luckily, unlike most of the terrible shootings that have taken place over the last few years, no one was seriously injured or killed, except for the gunman himself, who shot and killed himself just hours after the frightening ordeal.
The gunman has been identified as Richard Shoop a 20-year-old from Teaneck, New Jersey. It is such a tragedy when someone so young has such a tragic ending. According to reports, it has been stated by Shoop’s family that the 20-year-old had no intentions of harming anyone but himself throughout the entire ordeal. It was one of the strangest shootings in recent news stories as it was unclear as to what it was Shoop was trying to accomplish when he walked into the mall with an AK-47 assault rifle.
Around 3:20 in the morning on Tuesday, Shoop’s body was found in a location that was full of nothing but construction. The firearm by Shoop’s side had been a modified to look like an AK-47. This was a weapon that his brother owned and it is believed that Shoop stole the rifle from his brother before going to the mall and caused unbelievable fear on customers. There were at least six shots fired before Shoop hid. There were thousands of customers in the mall at the time and when the shots rang out panic ensued. Many customers fled the scene while others locked themselves into whatever store they were standing in at the time of the shooting. Shoop walked into the mall wearing a black leather jacket complete with a motorcycle helmet with a raised visor, allowing customers to see his face. Many witnesses recall seeing Shoop walk by them with a very large rifle, many of them also acknowledging that they looked Shoop directly in the eye as he passed by them. Shoop’s family expressed their sadness and confusion in regards to the terrifying event stating that they had no previous inclinations that their loved one was planning such a terrible thing.
According to official reports the mall would remain closed on Tuesday for further investigation.