Former Marine guns down shop staff

A supermarket employee wearing military clothing opened fire at the store early today, killing two of his colleagues then himself.

A law enforcement official identified the gunman as an ex-US Marine who was discharged two years ago.

The 23-year-old man left his shift at a Pathmark store in Oldmark, in the US state of New Jersey around 3.30am and returned a half-hour later with a handgun and an AK-47 assault rifle, Prosecutor Bruce Kaplan said.

About 12 to 14 workers were in the store, which was closed to the public, he said. The man fired at least 16 rounds from the rifle at the first workers he saw, killing an 18-year-old woman and a 24-year-old man as other workers hid, Kaplan said.

“I do not believe that they were specifically targeted. I believe everybody in the store was a target,” said Kaplan.

The gunman then killed himself, said Kaplan.

He did not release the name of the suspect, but a law enforcement official briefed on the investigation identified him as Terence Tyler, an ex-Marine who was discharged in 2010.

Tyler, an infantryman, never served overseas, said Marine spokeswoman Capt. Kendra Motz. She wouldn’t comment on the circumstances of his discharge.

John Niccollai, president of a food workers union that represents some store employees, said Pathmark officials and employees told him the gunman wore military clothing and had just left for the night before coming back into the store and opening fire.

Many of the employees escaped gunfire, Niccollai said, when an assistant manager, “who I would view as a hero,” helped many workers to get out of the store through the back door.

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