US shopping mall evacuated after gunman fires at random

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US shopping mall evacuated after gunman fires at random

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A gunman opened fire in a crowded shopping centre in the US state of New Jersey late on Monday leading to a mass evacuation of the complex.

The man shot at least six rounds from a modified rifle seemingly at random and without hitting anyone.

As people fled in panic, the man was not seen again until several hours later when his body was discovered in a back area of the mall.

Bergen County Prosecutor John Molinelli gave details of the incident and identified the dead man as 20-year-old Richard Shoop, who had a history of drug abuse and drug dealing.

Bergen County Prosecutor John Molinelli said “He left a note. “It’s a bit ambiguous. I’m hesitant to say it’s a suicide note. It does express that an end is coming. It could have been prison. It could have been what he did last night.”

Shoop used a rifle that had been modified to look like an AK-47 and that he had stolen from his brother, who owned it legally, Molinelli said.

Police evacuated thousands of people from the mall and launched a manhunt after shoppers reported hearing gunshots sometime after 9 p.m. local time, just before the complex was due to close.

“It was frantic. Absolutely chaos,” said shop assistant Najee Waters.

The shooting comes two months after a group of al Qaeda-linked militants launched an attack on a shopping centre in Nairobi that killed 67 people.