Garden State Plaza Shooting - My9 New Jersey

Garden State Plaza Shooting

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Paramus, New Jersey (MY9NJ) -

A shooting took place at the Garden State Plaza Mall in Paramus, New Jersey on Monday night. The mall was shut-down until 10:00am this morning and days later a small police presence remains patrolling the shopping center.

Witnesses describe the night of the shooting as complete chaos with hundreds of police officers, SWAT teams and emergency vehicles present.

The shooter has been identified as 20-year-old Richard Shoop of Teaneck, New Jersey. He is said to have entered the mall dressed completely in black wearing a black helmet and carrying a registered gun which is alleged to have been stolen from his brother. He walked into the mall and opened fire.

Nobody was killed during the shooting, but panic stricken shoppers scattered the mall trying to get to safety. There are unconfirmed reports that Shoop was high on the party-drug molly at the time of the shooting and that he is an avid drug abuser. Police were also familiar with the suspect because he has a criminal record.

Rabbi Shmuley Boteach was an eye-witness to the shooting. He described the chaos at the mall. “I decided to walk into the main mall of the Garden State Plaza to meet my wife. Suddenly as I was about 20-yards in I start seeing a flood of people, a wave of people running towards me screaming ‘shooter, shooter, get out!’ and interestingly I wasn’t panicked but I was very scared. I grabbed kids around me and ran outside and made it to the parking lot. The main thing for me at that time was reaching out to my wife and daughter and see if they are okay. And that was the worst moment of the night because for about five minutes, every call went to voicemail and I had just spoke to my wife and it made no sense that it went right to voicemail. I sat there almost shivering until I was finally able to reach her and she told me that she was in a storage closet hidden in the Sephora store and there were about ten other people there,” He said.

Shmuley said that for about 90-minutes after the shooting law enforcement officials had no idea the location of the gunman, while his family remained in the storage closet. They weren’t sure if he had left the mall or was still inside.

Around 2:00am the police discovered Shoop’s body inside the mall with a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

A security expert with United States Continued Service chimed in on this shooting. He said, “Almost 100% of the people who run and get out, live. And that’s the greatest lesson you can learn from any of this. Get out as quickly and organized as possible.”

People should remember that the potential for something like this to happen is always there and everyone needs to do whatever they can to get out of the situation as quickly and safely as possible.

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