It is notable that the 911 tapes from the Garden State Plaza shooting, released today by the Paramus Police Department, detail the real-time terror and confusion of mall patrons as a gunman roamed the shopping center brandishing a rifle.
“However, there is someone shooting up the Garden State Plaza. I do not know what the hell is going on,” one store employee told a 911 operator as the incident unfolded at about 9:30 last Monday evening. “He walked by our store. He actually held up his hands as if he was saying hi to me and just kept walking by I do not what kind of gun he had in his hands but it was a massive sized gun.”
While, the gunman, 20-year-old Richard Shoop of Teaneck, was found dead early Tuesday morning in a remote section of the shopping center with a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Although police believe Shoop never intended to harm anyone, the tapes provide a window into the pandemonium he caused as he walked through New Jersey’s largest shopping mall, firing shots into the air.
Particularly, operators received dozens of calls and repeatedly advised patrons and employees to lock their doors and to move everyone to backrooms or offices and wait for police.
“Meanwhile, they are gonna start going store by store, but it’s gonna take quite some time,” one operator told a caller. “There are many SWAT teams, not just one.
Probably half the state’s police departments have sent help … Just stay where they are til they’re calling for you.” One man frantically called 911, searching for his family. [ nj.com ]