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[Image via Instagram.]
New Jersey went through such a horribly terrifying moment yesterday.
A gunman entered Westfield Garden State Plaza mall in all black with a black helmet at around 9:20 p.m. ET and fired at least six bullets from a rifle, modified to look like an AK-47. Luckily those bullets didn't strike any innocent victims.
While authorities searched for the man who ended up being Richard Shoop, they eventually found his body early this morning in a back room where he had shot himself in the head and died.
At this time, the reason for the shooting isn't completely clear, but officials have some ideas about the intent. Bergen County Prosecutor John Molinelli commented:
"We know that his intent was either suicide or to do something that would cause police to shoot him, which we call 'suicide by cop.' He had more than enough opportunity to be able to shoot other people…Instead, he shot randomly at different locations."
It is also reported that he left behind a note referring to the end coming. It is believed that he might have been referencing his own suicide or an arrest for the shooting.
But even with the gunman dead, the shooting caused panic throughout New Jersey and the rest of the country. Shoppers had scattered throughout the stores when the shooting began. Many shoppers continued to hide in the stores even after the gunman was found dead. Police then made their way through evacuating each store.
We're so relieved everyone is safe after this horrible moment.
We just hope these terrifying and tragic shootings come to an end.
[Image via AP Images.]