|Armed police authorities outside an entrance at the Westfield GSP mall.|
Reuters/Ray Stubblebine | (image source)
Past midnight, the suspect was identified as 20 year-old, Teaneck-resident, Richard Shoop as authorities swept the entirety of the shopping center while another dispatched team raided his home. Meanwhile through the night, people were evacuated in small groups as the mall continued to be thoroughly searched and cleared space by space. The suspect was subsequently found dead in an area of the mall reserved from the public for construction materials storage, and his time of death was figured at around 3:20AM "from self-inflicted gunshot wound in the head from a rifle." Only one shell casing was found in search yet, though people reported hearing multiple shots (6 to 7); and, indeed, it was later shared that "six rounds hit an elevator, an escalator and several storefronts." It was furthermore surmised he never intended purposeful homicide...just to be perhaps struck down by police in action or by his own hand. There were no other injuries. The weapon involved is a .22-caliber assault-style rifle which the gunman took without the knowledge of his brother who legally owns it. "[Several] witnesses said he had the opportunity to kill them, but that he never [actually] raised his rifle against them." Shoop has been described as having been a troubled guy with a history of drug abuse and rather recent prior incidences with the police involved.
What is of concern to us furthermore at The Sitch on Fitch is that Westfield Garden State Plaza is home to an Abercrombie & Fitch (NJ-ANF; store #10610), an abercrombie kids, and a Hollister Co. (NJ-HCo.; store #30115). It was also home to a RUEHL No.925 store in the past. We can only hope that the teams find peace in mind with what was incontrovertibly a frightening experience so close to their otherwise safe workplace and positive environment.
Westfield Garden State Plaza will remain closed for Tuesday and will reopen on Wednesday, November 6. Keep updated and read more on the case from the NJ state news, (here).
|Screenshot of the mall's official website as seen on Tuesday, November 5.|