PARAMUS, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — The chilling 911 tapes from the shooting incident at the Garden State Plaza mall in Paramus, N.J. were released Wednesday.READ MORE: First Case Of Omicron Variant Reported In New Jersey
As CBS 2’s Dave Carlin reported, a man fired multiple shots at the mall Monday night before committing suicide. No one else was injured, but the tapes captured a scene of panic and terror inside the mall.
Authorities said 20-year-old Richard Shoop walked into the mall with a rifle around closing time on Monday, fired at random objects and then killed himself.
As 1010 WINS’ Carol D’Auria reported, the first call was made by a terrified woman hiding in the restroom of a store in the Garden State Plaza. Many of the frightened callers were mall employees.
Caller: “Yes I’m at the Garden State Plaza mall where there’s been a shooting.”
Caller: “And I’m in, I work here, I’m inside the store inside the office by myself, but I’m scared and I want to get out of the mall.”
When the gunfire started and shoppers and employees ran outside, others were in the mall hiding as they they called 911.
Caller: “Someone is shooting up Garden State Plaza right now.”
Operator: “Someone is shooting?”
Caller “Someone is shooting up Garden State Plaza right now and I’m in the bathroom (inaudible).”
Operator: “OK, stay on the phone with me sweetheart. How many people are in the bathroom with you?”
Caller: “There’s three.”
Operator: “Are they in your store?”
The 911 operators tried to calm their fears. In one call, a woman was whispering for fear that the gunman would hear her.
Operator: “They’re already on their way. Everybody in the county is on their way. Every police department is on their way. Do you know if anybody was shot?”
Caller: “I don’t know. I don’t know. We just heard the gunshots.”
On another call, an employee was the only one in her store, and although she was locked in, she pleaded with police to come and get her because she was frightened and wanted to go home.
Caller: “I was waiting for two other employees to come because there’s been a shooting inside the mall and they haven’t come to the store yet, and I’m scared and I want to leave, out.”
But operators told the employees to stay where they were.
Caller: “We are trying to figure out what is the best way for us to leave.”
Operator: “Sir, how many people are in this?”
Caller: “There are three of us.”
Operator: “Where are you located inside?”
Caller: “We are in the stockroom.”
Operator: “All right. I need you to stay in the stockroom, OK? Do not leave. It is not safe to come out.”
Store manager Bray Sams said he can relate to the panic in the calls. He said he came face to face with gunman Shoop, of Teaneck, N.J.
Bray ran through the Nordstrom store to the parking lot without his coat or cellphone.
“After Monday night, I just feel very weird coming back here,” he said. “I couldn’t quit my job though.”
Sams showed CBS 2’s Carlin where Shoop opened fire 20 feet from where he was standing. One bullet struck a video screen and destroyed it.READ MORE: NYPD: 1 Dead, Another Injured In Apparent Drug-Related Shooting At Brooklyn Airbnb
“He was shooting at the ceiling glass, and the glass was shattering,” Sams said.
The mall reopened Wednesday, two days after the shooting incident. As shoppers began flocking to the mall in the morning, there was little evidence of Monday night’s shooting.
“It’s just really sad, it’s really tense,” Briana Davenport of Rockland County told WCBS 880’s Marla Diamond.
“It’s hard, you know it is, it really is,” store employee Lorraine Pena added.