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N.J. mall shooting: Kevin Shoop "intended to harm nobody else but himself," suspected gunman's brother says

Richard Shoop, 20, of Washington Township, N.J., fired several shots at escalator in Garden State Plaza Mall in Paramus, N.J. shortly before closing time on Nov. 4, 2013, then shot himself to death, authorities say
Richard Shoop Bergen County prosecutor's office

(CBS) TEANECK, N.J. - The brother of a 20-year-old man who authorities said opened fire at the Garden State Plaza mall before taking his own life says his brother "intended to harm nobody else but himself."

"He just sadly decided to make an act of self-indulgence by taking his own life publicly and it's a tragedy to us all," Kevin Shoop told CBS New York on Tuesday.

Chaos erupted shortly before 9:30 p.m. Monday when authorities said Richard Shoop of Teaneck fired at least six shots at random, causing a lockdown at the mall and prompting hundreds of law enforcement officers, including SWAT teams and K-9 units, to respond.

Police had already identified Shoop as the shooter when they arrived at his family's two-story colonial home just before 1 a.m. Tuesday, but authorities didn't know where he was.

The house, which is four miles from the mall, was considered to be a place Shoop might flee to if he escaped the manhunt at the mall.

Police entered the home to search for Shoop and waited for two hours until officials confirmed his body was found at the mall around 3:20 a.m.

Police withdrew from the home leaving one police cruiser to stand guard as Shoop's family home became a scene of mourning.

According to CBS New York, people have been coming to the Emerson Avenue home where Shoop was raised to express condolences to the family.

Neighbor Daniel Klapper said he has known the Shoop family for 20 years and watched Richard grow up.

"It's a shocking thing for us, it's a difficult time for his family and for him. Obviously he felt that there was no way out for him," Klapper said.

"He was mowing the lawn the other day, I never saw him do anything that was strange," said neighbor Mary Jane Tipton, who knew Shoop for 16 years. "I would have never imagined it, not in a million years. ... I can't even imagine what they [the family] must be going through."

One neighbor told Young that he knew Shoop his whole life and called him a "sweet kid."

But Bergen County Prosecutor John Molinelli painted a much different picture, describing the alleged shooter as a troubled drug user.

Shoop's family told police he had a history of drug abuse, and relatives believe MDMA was his drug of choice, Molinelli said.

No one was injured in the incident and Molinelli said it appears Shoop did not intend to shoot anyone inside the mall.

Molinelli said "it appears the main motive for what he did was suicide."

"I do not believe that Mr. Shoop intended to come out of here alive," he said. "We have a pretty good idea of what Mr. Shoop's mindset was over the last day or so and it would be consistent with his actions here."

Investigators said it was Shoop's brother who called police Monday night when he heard about a gunman on the loose at the mall in Paramus.

The alleged gunman's brother had already been driving around the area looking for him after finding a disturbing note that he had left behind and noticing his gun and helmet were missing.

Prosecutors said the weapon used in the shooting belongs to Shoop's brother.

"It looked like an AK-47 but it's not an AK-47. It's when you take the handgun and modify it to look like something that it's not, but it is a lawful gun owned by the brother," Molinelli said.

Prosecutors said they don't believe Shoop's family played any role in the incident.

Complete coverage of Richard Shoop on Crimesider

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