PARAMUS, New Jersey (CNN) —
The gunman who opened fire at a New Jersey mall Monday night is dead, authorities said. The shooter’s body was discovered at 3:20 a.m. Tuesday in a back area of the Westfield Garden State Plaza Mall. Authorities said he had a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
[Previous story, published at 2:32 a.m. ET]
New Jersey mall shooter still on the loose
(CNN) — A shooter opened fire at a New Jersey mall Monday night, sending panic through the shopping center and setting off a frenzied hunt for the gunman.
No one was injured by the shooting at Westfield Garden State Plaza Mall, Paramus Mayor Rich LaBarbiera said. But no one knew exactly where the gunman was.
The mayor said authorities believe the shooter had left the mall, but New Jersey State Police said they are still searching for the gunman in the building.
State Police Sgt. Joe Lettieri said authorities have identified a possible suspect, but the name has not been released.
SWAT officers swept through the mall store-by-store into Tuesday morning, searching for the shooter and evacuating barricaded shoppers as each store was cleared.
Police were investigating at least one other location away from the mall.
The melee started around 9:20 p.m. ET. At least one gunman apparently fired shots at security cameras, state police said.
Eddie Kahmann, who works inside the mall, told CNN he heard six or seven gunshots.
“There was just people running like crazy, so I quickly just closed my doors, ran to the back, turned off all the lights, music and everything, just to stay hidden,” he said.
Kahmann spoke from inside the mall, one of the largest shopping centers in the New York City area.
Allie Cozic, another mall employee, said she saw “someone dressed in all black, carrying a large gun, walk past our store.”
She said she heard loud bangs about 10 minutes before her store was set to close for the night.
“It was just chaos. Everyone was just kind of running to wherever they could,” Cozic said.
“It was almost like when you’re watching a horror movie and the killer is walking slowly — that’s what it seemed like. He was wearing all black, it almost looked like body armor of some kind. As soon as I saw the gun, I just turned and ran.”
Although witnesses told CNN they heard between three and nine gunshots, as of late Monday night only one shell casing had been found, a Bergen County emergency management official said.
Despite the discrepancy in the number of gunshots heard, several witnesses reported delays between the shots. perhaps 15 or 20 seconds long.
Johnny Jiminez said he believes the shooter was with several other men.
“I saw five guys together,” Jiminez told CNN affiliate WPIX. “This guy comes around the corner, so sleek. This guy’s got an assault rifle. I was in the U.S. Navy; I know what an assault rifle looks like.”
The mayor said he could not confirm how many people may have been involved in the shooting.
Westfield Garden State Plaza, about 12 miles west of Manhattan, has about 2 million square feet of retail space, with more than 300 stores.
CNN’s Susan Candiotti, Eden Pontz, Sarah Aarthun, Scott Garber and Laura Dolan contributed to this report.
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