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Police: Garden State Plaza Mall Gunman Had Been Busted Selling ‘Molly’

Richard Shoop, who police say killed himself in the Garden State Mall after opening fire. (credit: Handout)

Richard Shoop, who police say killed himself in the Garden State Mall after opening fire. (credit: Handout)

HACKENSACK, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — Police in Hackensack, N.J., announced Tuesday that a gunman who opened fire at the Garden State Plaza Mall in Paramus last fall had sold the club drug Molly to an undercover officer 10 days earlier.

The information came as part of an announcement of what was described as the largest narcotics crackdown in Hackensack history.

Richard Shoop, 20, of Teaneck walked through the mall on Nov. 4 with a rifle that had been modified to look like an AK-47, randomly firing shots before turning the gun on himself.

Hackensack police said back in April of last year, they began investigating a group of people distributing Molly MDMA in the Hackensack area, and arrested Shoop when they caught him dealing the drug near Anderson Street Park on April 23.

Police said they learned Shoop was involved with several others in the importing of ingredients from China so they could manufacture their own Molly.

On Oct. 24, 10 days before the mall shooting, Shoop sold Molly to an undercover officer, police said. Toxicology reports also showed he had Molly in his system at the time of his death, police said.

Shortly after the incident, Bergen County Prosecutor John Molinelli said Shoop killed himself with the same weapon he used inside the mall and that an ambiguous note had been left with his family. He would not call it a suicide note, but said it did “express that an end is coming.”

“My brother intended to harm nobody but himself,” his brother Kevin Shoop said in November. “He just sadly decided to make an act of, I guess, self-indulgence by taking his own life publicly.”

Police also said shortly after the incident Shoop was addicted to the potent narcotic MDMA, or Molly, a form of ecstasy, but did not reveal his arrest or encounter with the undercover officer.

But investigators have said Shoop’s note indicated that he suspected police were investigating him.

In the wider drug crackdown, police said they have made 1,200 narcotics arrests, including 300 for distribution, in the past year. The current sweep involves over 160 drug dealers in a seven-month undercover operation, police said.

Officers have made undercover purchases of other drugs, including Oxycodone, Roxycodine, heroin, crack cocaine, powder cocaine, and marijuana, police said.

They have also made undercover buys of “pink crack” or “strawberry crack,” which users have said gives them a greater high and may actually be a mixture of crack and methamphetamine, police said. They have also marijuana dipped in embalming fluid – known on the street as “WET” – and several handguns.

Other high-profile busts include Charles Williams, also known as Charles Moore and “Old School,” a convicted murderer and sex offender on lifetime parole who allegedly sold heroin and oxycodone to undercover officers three different times near Union Street Park.

An officer who got to know Williams while pretending to be a drug buyer allegedly found out he had stabbed a 24-year-old man with a kitchen knife on Feb. 6, and he was charged with aggravated assault as a result, police said. He is on lifetime parole for the 1969 rapes and murders of two boys – ages 13 and 14 – in Virginia and was also convicted of raping several young boys around New Jersey, police said. Police believe Williams may be connected to cold case killings of children, according to published reports.

Another sex offender – James Rogers of Hackensack – got busted for allegedly selling oxycodone to an undercover officer. He was convicted in 2004 of aggravated sexual assault for the rape of a developmentally disabled male victim, police said.

Another defendant, former emergency medical technician Christian Alameda, also charged with distributing cocaine and Molly – while wearing an EMT uniform. He said he was a certified EMT, but has not worked as one for over a year, police said.

Other defendants were caught dealing drugs with children in their cars or right there in their arms, police said.

Jeremy Castillo in Ridgefield Park was allegedly caught dealing drugs in a high-rise apartment on Prospect Avenue in Hackensack, leaving his 10-month-old daughter in his car concealed under a Tempur-Pedic pillow, police said. He was hit with drug charges and endangering the welfare of a child.

Patricia “Mother Pat” Thompson and her daughter, Shannon Thompson, were both arrested after allegedly selling drugs in Union Street Park. An undercover officer bought oxycodone from the mother and daughter, and said Pat Thompson was keeping the drugs in her bra, police said.

Shannon Thompson sat nearby with a small child identified as her 4-year-old daughter, leading anyone in the park to believe the alleged dealers were just a mother and grandmother with a small child, police said.

Two more defendants, Cleon Shoemaker and Latoya McCarroll, were accused of selling “WET” marijuana – and an undercover officer allegedly bought drugs from McCarroll while she held a baby in her arms, police said.

Defendant Nahdir Gonzalez also allegedly sold drugs to an undercover officer while holding his infant son in his arms near Memorial Park on Main Street in Hackensack, police said.

The seven-month operation was a joint effort between Hackensack police, the Bergen County Sheriff’s Department and Prosecutor’s office, and Little Ferry police.

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