New Jersey's largest mall was evacuated after reports of shots being fired sparked a panic. The mall was also the scene of a shooting in Nov. 2013.
New Jersey State Police said the Garden State Plaza Mall in Paramus had been evacuated May 10 after reports that shots had been fired. Images circulated online showed a car on fire outside of the mall. Police later said they believed the panic may have been caused by noises coming from the car fire.
New Jersey State Police secured the mall's perimeter as a precaution May 10. "Possibly other noises mistaken for gunfire," state police tweeted. There were no reports of injuries. Several hours later, state police confirmed no shots had been fired. A toppled metal support frame had apparently spooked shoppers.
At least six shots were fired inside the mall minutes before it closed. Some people fled and some were evacuated. More than 500 police officers responded by surrounding and entering the mall. About 400 customers and employees stayed in the mall while police searched store-to-store.
Local police said in a press conference after the 2013 incident that the shooter, identified as Richard Shoop, 20, of Teaneck, NJ, was found dead at about 3:20am of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound. The body was found in the back of the mall, and a suicide note was found in his home.
"I don't know as I stand here whether his motive was to injure anyone. I do not believe that Mr. Shoop thought he was going to come out of here alive." John Molinelli, Bergen County prosecutor
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