TEANECK, N.J. (AP) - Relatives and friends of Richard Shoop have been finding it hard to believe today that the young man they described as pleasant and well-liked would bring a gun into a New Jersey shopping mall, firing several shots into the ceiling and elsewhere before eventually taking his own life.
Police don't think the 20-year-old intended to shoot anyone when he began firing last night at the mall about 15 miles northwest of New York City. He didn't hit anybody, but terrified shoppers and employees were trapped in the mall for hours.
Hours after the gunfire, police found Shoop's body in a back corridor of the mall, deep within a lower level.
News of his suicide stunned friends and relatives. One woman who says she had known him since he was little says Shoop had spoken just last week about a potential new job, and seemed especially happy about it.
His brother told reporters that Shoop gave no advance warning about what he intended to do. But a prosecutor says Shoop left an ambiguous note with his family that raised concern. The prosecutor wouldn't call it a suicide note, but said it did "express that an end is coming."