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November 5, 2013

Shooting baffles gunman’s relatives

(Continued)

TEANECK, N.J. —

Dod Geges, the owner of a pizzeria in Teaneck where Shoop worked for several years, said Shoop didn’t show violent tendencies and “was always sad” when he heard about shootings on TV.

Shoop left an ambiguous note with his family that raised concern, however. Molinelli, the prosecutor, would not call it a suicide note, but he 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.”

Gov. Chris Christie called the shooting a wake-up call for lawmakers to focus on mental health issues as part of a comprehensive effort to reduce gun violence.

“Obviously that young man went there to end his own life. We may not be that lucky next time,” Christie said. “We need to get to the root causes of what drives a young man like that to drive to Garden State Plaza in that condition.”

It is not known whether Shoop had any mental health problems. Authorities said he had a drug problem.

Chaos erupted shortly before the mall’s 9:30 p.m. closing time Monday when authorities said a man dressed in black and wearing a motorcycle helmet fired six shots. Molinelli said the gun, which was modified to look like an AK-47 assault rifle, belonged to Richard Shoop’s brother, who owned it legally and did not give the shooter permission to take it.

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