Vigil held for Garden State Plaza shooter; mall to reopen Wednesday
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TEANECK - About 200 people gathered to remember Richard Shoop, who police say fired shots last night inside a Paramus mall and then ended his own life.
Bergen County Prosecutor John Molinelli says the body of Shoop, 20, of Teaneck, was found in a back area of the Garden State Plaza mall in Paramus early Tuesday morning.
There were tears and flowers during the mostly silent vigil as friends and family paid their respects.
Not everyone thought the vigil was appropriate because of his impact on hundreds of people inside the mall Monday night.
According to Molinelli, Shoop had gone to the mall with the intention of dying, either through suicide or being shot by police. He said authorities did not believe Shoop had any intention of shooting anyone else.
There were no other injuries.
Molinelli said Shoop had fired at least six shots shortly before the mall's 9:30 p.m. closing time on Monday, sending customers and employees rushing hysterically for the exits or hiding places. He said the weapon was identified as a .22-caliber rifle that was modified to look like an AK-47. The weapon was believed to have been legally owned by Shoop's brother and it is believed that Shoop took it without permission.
Police are investigating whether drug use played a role in the shooting and suicide. The Bergen County Prosecutor says Shoop had previously sold and used drugs.
The Garden State Plaza mall will reopen Wednesday following Monday's shooting and lockdown. The mall will reopen to employees at 6 a.m. and to customers at 10 a.m.
Garden State Plaza, which has more than 270 stores, is located in Bergen County.