Gunfire at Garden State Plaza

Bill Ritter's daily take on the news.

November 5, 2013 1:25:33 PM PST
Rich Shoop is dead, but most of this day he's been living, rent-free, in my head. This 20-year-old wanted to leave this Earth making news, and he indeed got his last wish.

Shoop is in my head, but it's along several distinct and parallel universes. And after talking to some folks, I'm not alone.

So, off the top, big sigh and wonderful that no one was hurt or killed at the Garden State Plaza shopping mall in Paramus, New Jersey's largest mall. It seemed a bit strange when we learned from witnesses that the shots Shoop fired from his shotgun were up in the air, and not pointed at any one. That was the first time the issue of suicide was moved to the front burner either self-inflicted or what they call "suicide by cop."

After surrounding the mall late last night, after locking down the stores, after calling in hundreds of cops from around the state they found Shoop, dead, with a self-inflicted wound. Although, really, when you use a shotgun, wound probably isn't the most accurate word.

It was a frightening situation for all those folks who were at the mall at the time working or shopping. And what a jerk Mr. Shoop was for having put all of them through a night of terror.

The other parallel universe is that, while I called Shoop a jerk one sentence ago, I also know I can only imagine how much pain this tortured, drugged-out, mentally ill young man must have been in.

And how his family must feel today- second or third-guessing themselves. Did they do enough? Did they do too much of the "wrong" strategy in dealing with him? His brother's girlfriend today said she feels terrible she didn't return his texts last night, before the shooting, figuring it was just the same paranoia he had been exhibiting for the past month.

Meanwhile, the mall is closed today, and while it's expected to open tomorrow, there's been no official word. We'll have the latest from the scene, tonight at 11.

Our big story is the election. Bill de Blasio tonight is trying to become the first Democrat to be elected Mayor of New York since 1989. Polls should he should easily do it, but this is politics, and anything is possible. Certainly Republican Joe Lhota is hoping that's true ? that anything is possible.

It's not exactly been a wonderful example of civility, this campaign for Mayor. Lhota has wrongly red-baited de Blasio, and de Blasio has wrongly Tea Partied Lhota. Ain't been pretty, and you'd think the man who was going to lead the biggest city in the country would be above that kind of politicking. I'm just sayin'.

Tonight at 11, we're with all the candidates in the tri-state ? the Mayor's race in New York; the county executive races in Nassau, Westchester and Rockland; the Governor's race in New Jersey; and the contentious Brooklyn D-A race. Plus we'll have results all night on 7online.

We'll also have any breaking news of the night, plus Meteorologist Lee Goldberg's AccuWeather forecast, and Rob Powers with the night's sports. I hope you can join Sade Baderinwa and me, tonight at 11.

Bill Ritter


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