At around 9 p.m. on November 4, gunfire was reported at the Garden State Mall Plaza in Paramus, New Jersey. A massive police response ensued with SWAT teams eventually storming the mall in the search for an active shooter. The gunman was reported to have been wearing body armor and armed with an assault rifle. As the search was completed, only one shell-casing was found, contradicting witness claims of multiple shots fired. The horrifying scene was not declared safe until 11:30 p.m.
Here's what you need to know about him:
1. He Was Found Dead Just After 3 A.M.
Richard Shoop rip bro you were a good kid and everyone that knows you knows that ! pic.twitter.com/CAtFFstaL8
— Dj Bentley (@DjBentleymusic) November 5, 2013
His body was found by police at around 3:20 a.m. in an area of the mall that was closed off due to construction. The Bergen County Prosecutor John Molinelli confirmed the death, reports CBS New York.
Speaking to reporters, Molinelli said:
There was no individual that was struck by anything other than Mr. Shoop taking his own life. I do not believe that Mr. Shoop intended to come out of here alive.
It's reported that Shoop killed himself with the same weapon that was used to terrorize shoppers and employees at the Garden State Plaza mall in Paramus, New Jersey. A note had been left with his family, though Molinelli did not call it a suicide note but said it did "express that an end is coming. It could have been prison - It could have been what he did last night. It gave his family reason to reach out to us."
NorthJersey.com reports that his body was found in a storage area. With the FBI saying SWAT teams had to navigate "a maze of corridors" to access the area.
2. He's Worked at a Paramus Pizza Place For 4 Years
The Star-Ledger reports that Shoop works in a restaurant in his native Teaneck, New Jersey. It had been made clear that Shoop did not work in the mall.
The owner of Paramus pizzeria Known as "Victor's" (Above), where Shoop worked, Robert Gega, told NBC New York, that Shoop hadn't shown up for work on Friday or Saturday. He said that Shoop had worked at the restaurant for four years. Gega described him as "genuinely very nice." Reports suggest that Shoop performed a variety of jobs at the pizzeria including deliveries and working the counter. One friend told The Daily News that the last time she saw Shoop, he told her he was buying a stake in Victor's, she added:
He was a real hot shot. He was well known in town. He was really popular in school. You would see him all over town. He head a real fresh 300Z. Everyone in town knew him.
Me being sassy and Rich being his wonderful self. RIP. pic.twitter.com/88Ti0Qlrgs
— Jenny Bravo (@JMilllsss) November 5, 2013
Another family friend calling Shoop a "sweet kid." A neighbor, Daniel Klapper, told CBS New York, that he knew the family for 20 years and: "It's shocking thing for us, it's a difficult time for his family and for him - obviously he felt that there was no way out for him."
He has an acting/modeling profile at Exploretalent.com.
Another friend of Shoop, Madison Barbarini, graduated from Teaneck High School with him in 2011. She told NorthJersey.com:
We've been best friends since we were in Kindergarten. He's one of the nicest guys I know. I don't even believe it.
— Zachary Stieber (@ZackStieber) November 5, 2013
3. He Has a History of Drug Use
Officials have said that Shoop's actions were motivated by suicide. John Molinelli told reporters:
We have spoken with the family and we have a pretty good idea what Mr. Shoop's mindset was over the last day or so and it would be consistent with his actions here.
CBS New York reports that MDMA was his drug of choice.
Though his brother told NBC New York that Richard Shoop's actions were done out of self-indulgence. His brother told CBS New York that he contacted police after he discovered the note from Shoop and noticed his gun was missing.
4. Shortly After Shoop Was Named as a Suspect, Police Descended on his Family Home
When police arrived at Shoop's residence, located along Emerson Avenue in Teaneck, New Jersey a man armed with a screwdriver answered the door, reports NJ.com.
Police ordered him to drop his weapon and drop to his knees, he co-operated and told officers that his wife and dog were in the home.
5. He Was Believed to Have Been Armed With an AK-47-Style Gun
Police believe that the gun Shoop used during the anarchy. Prosecutor John Molinelli said that the weapon was "lawful" and owned by Shoop's brother. The prosecutor added that he doesn't believe Shoop intended to shoot anyone in the mall saying:
The reason I say that is because he did have opportunity to shoot people and did not. There were a lot of people around him. There were eyewitnesses a few feet from him.
The gun was a Sig Sauer rifle that had been modified to look like an AK-47, reports NBC New York. The station further says that it's believed he stole the weapon from his gun on November 4.