Last night, a gunman dressed in black walked into a New Jersey mall and fired at least six shots before killing himself inside one of the mall's construction zones. There were no other injuries or deaths.
According to Bergen County Prosecutor John Molinelli, the suspect, identified as 20-year-old Richard Shoop, did not attempt to shoot or injure any of the mall's shoppers or employees, despite having ample opportunity to do so.
"The main motive for what he did tonight was suicide, whether self-inflicted or suicide-by-cop," Molinelli said, according to the Star-Ledger. Molinelli also said the suspect's family were the first to alert authorities that Shoop may have been involved. According to the family, Shoop had a long history of drug use and was unemployed.
Police found Shoop's body at about 3:20 AM, roughly five hours after the incident began. Throughout the ordeal, dozens of shoppers remained trapped inside the mall, hiding in small groups.
"It took a long time to clear these stores. You've got to go foot-by-foot, yard-by-yard," said Molinelli.
Below is our coverage of the shooting from last night and early this morning.
UPDATE 4:04 a.m.:
UPDATE 1:24 a.m.: According to the Star-Ledger, law enforcement officials have raided a home in Teaneck, N.J. The address matches the address of Richard Shoop, 20, who has been identified as a possible suspect in the Westfield Garden State Plaza mall shooting Monday evening.
UPDATE 1:21 a.m.: Another statement has been released by the Paramus police:
UPDATE 12:26 a.m.: Photos of the scene posted on Instagram by user jalamadistyle an hour ago:
UPDATE 12:20 a.m.: A statement has been released on behalf of Paramus Police Chief Kenneth Ehrenberg:
Just in: Statement from Paramus Police Chief Ehrenberg re: GSP shooting pic.twitter.com/PCvcy0nEWs— S.P. Sullivan (@spsullivan) November 5, 2013
UPDATE 12:01 a.m.: According to CNN, the gunman was firing shots at security cameras and only a single shell casing has been found.
UPDATE 11:29: Jessica Schneider at WCBS reports that the shooter "may have left" and the mall will be locked down "for several more hours."
UPDATE 11:20: NJ Burkett at WABC reports that an "orderly evacuation" of the mall is ongoing.
UPDATE 11:10: Employees and shoppers are still locked down in businesses.
UPDATE 11:03: According to The Star-Ledger, there are "no reports" of any casualties at the mall.
UPDATE 10:43: Early reports describe the man shooting a "long gun" into the air at least five times.
UPDATE 10:39: One eyewitness, Althea Brown, 26, tells NorthJersey.com that she saw the shooter walk by:
“He looked at me and kept on walking,” she said. She said she heard three shots, then two more. The man appeared to be wearing body armor, and had the visor of his helmet pulled up as he walked, she said.
UPDATE 10:36: According to the AP, police are still searching for the gunman.
UPDATE 10:30: You can watch live streaming footage of the scene on MyFoxNY. According to the video, it appears as though a SWAT team is now entering the mall.
UPDATE 10:20: Ally Kozic, a mall employee, told CNN that she saw someone dressed in black "carrying a large gun" walk past her store.
Witnesses told NBC 4 New York that a man dressed in all black, including a black helmet, was carrying a rifle and "started firing shots" inside the mall.
[Screenshot via CNN]