A man suspected of firing multiple shots and causing a lockdown at New Jersey’s largest shopping centre has been found dead of a self-inflicted wound, authorities said.
Bergen County Prosecutor John Molinelli said the body of Richard Shoop, 20, of Teaneck, was found in a back area of the Garden State Plaza mall in Paramus. He said Shoop killed himself with the same weapon he used at the mall and that a note has been found.
There were no other injuries.
Police said Shoop’s body was discovered at around 3.20am deep within a lower level of the mall that is not a public area. Shoop did not work at the mall, according to police, and they are still seeking a possible motive for the shooting.
Authorities said a man dressed in black and wearing what is believed to be a motorcycle helmet fired shots shortly before the mall’s 9.30pm closing time. There were no injuries.
Witnesses said the sound of gunfire sent customers and employees rushing for the exits.
Police said that SWAT teams concentrated their search in the north east corner of the 2.2 million-square-foot mall, near a Nordstrom store, believing the suspect might still be in the mall.
She said authorities found one bullet casing.
Hundreds of law enforcement officers converged on the mall, which was put on lockdown. New Jersey State Police landed a helicopter in the parking lot and SWAT teams with K-9 units went through the mall and evacuated anyone who was still there.
The mall, which has more than 270 stores, is located in Bergen County, about 15 miles (25km) north-west of Manhattan.