NEW YORK — Westfield Garden State Plaza in Paramus, N.J., remained closed Tuesday in the wake of a shooting incident that left the lone gunman dead of a self-inflicted wound.
Shoppers and employees of the sprawling 2.2-million-square-foot mall were unharmed, but some were trapped inside the mall on Monday night, which was under lockdown while authorities searched for the gunman. He was identified as 20-year-old Richard Shoop of Teaneck, N.J.
“First and foremost, the safety of Westfield Garden State Plaza shoppers and employees is paramount and always a priority; and we are so very grateful that all our customers and employees are safe,” Westfield Group said. “We are also very thankful for the rapid and comprehensive response of local and regional law enforcement. Per Bergen County authorities, Garden State Plaza will be closed on Tuesday, Nov. 5. We will continue to advise of the mall’s operational schedule. Clearly, yesterday’s event heightens everyone’s state of awareness and concern. Our security precautions reflect that heightened state. Once cleared to reopen, we will continue to work with law enforcement and public safety officials to keep our shopping center safe.”
The terror began at about 9:20 p.m. when a gunman reportedly dressed in black with a motorcycle helmet and possibly wearing body armor and carrying a rifle made to look like an AK-47 entered the mall near Nordstrom. He fired random shots as he allegedly walked through the mall brandishing the weapon. About 500 SWAT and law enforcement officials descended on the mall. Meanwhile, 400 shoppers and employees were reportedly trapped inside as police conducted a sweep of the facility after the shooter had been discovered dead.
The incident took place just as retailers were advertising their holiday promotions.
In an update on its Facebook page, Garden State Plaza said Tuesday that it would open today at 6 a.m. for retailers and their employees so they could prepare their stores and collect any personal items left behind. It will open to the public at 10 a.m.
David Levenberg, former vice president of security for General Growth Properties Inc., said there are still unanswered questions. “How did he get the rifle in there?” he asked. “Was it visible from the parking lot? What happened once the gunfire erupted? Some witnesses said they weren’t told what to do or where to go.”
The National Retail Federation produced active shooter training for the retail industry several years ago. “Malls try to do two full-scale evacuation drills a year,” said Malachy Kavanagh, a spokesman for the the International Council of Shopping Centers. “They can’t do enough training because there’s a lot of retail turnover. The Department of Homeland Security created a program that deals with active shooters. It’s very much on everybody’s radar screen.”
In fact, Richard Mellor, a security expert who serves as vice president of loss prevention at the NRF, had a previously scheduled meeting with the Department of Homeland Security on Tuesday, the organization said.
The Garden State Plaza mall gets 20 million visitors a year and rings up over $400 million in sales. One of the largest centers in New Jersey, it’s also one of the busiest and most productive in the state.
The last active shooter incident in a mall occurred in December 2012 outside Portland, Ore. In September, the Roosevelt Field mall in Garden City, N.Y., was under lockdown after a gunman shot two people at a nearby office complex. “They’re a rarity,” Kavanagh said of mall shootings, but added, “In society, shootings seem to be happening more often.”
As one of the most recognizable models in the world, Christy Turlington Burns has an insider’s view of the fashion industry and the allegations of sexual harassment swirling around it. “I can say that harassment and mistreatment have always been widely known and tolerated in the industry. The industry is surrounded by predators who thrive on the constant rejection and loneliness so many of us have experiences at some point in our careers,” Turlington told WWD, along with her suggestions for how the modeling world should protect younger women and men. Read more on WWD.com. Link in bio. (📷: Tony Palmieri) #wwdnews
@asics America has tapped a new brand ambassador: famed DJ/record producer @steveaoki. This initiative is intended to set the tone for the new brand identity and philosophy and will include partnerships with influencers and in-store and off-line activations that will continue into next year. This is Asics’ most significant marketing effort in two decades, and is expected to attract younger consumers to the brand. #wwdfashion
24-year-old Jean Prounis is redefining the rules of jewelry. Formerly a studio assistant to Jemima Kirke and a design apprentice at Ghuran, she focuses on handcrafted subtleties and ancient goldsmithing techniques. “There was a really sterile feel in the environment and I wanted to have jewelry with character that shapes how you wear it everyday,” Prounis said. Each piece is hand made in New York, either by Prounis or three other jewelers in the district. #wwdfashion
“These collections continue to build on that vision, empowering differently abled adults to express themselves through fashion,” said @tommyhilfiger of his line of adaptive apparel, which launches today. The line consists of 37 men’s and 34 women’s styles based upon the pieces from the spring Tommy Hilfiger sportswear collection. #wwdnews
“Stranger Things” is getting a new cast member for season 2. Meet @sadiesink_, the 15-year-old who will be joining the Netflix series for its new season. You may recognize her from “The Glass Castle” with Brie Larson and Woody Harrelson, but the Texas native’s next role goes in an entirely different direction. She describes her character, Max, as “a rough and tumble skater girl [who] becomes friends with the boys at school.” The second season debuts on October 27. (📷: @jgreenery) #wwdeye
Amid the Harvey Weinstein controversy, there’s another sector that’s being put under the spotlight for sexual abuse: the modeling industry. While rumors about abuse and sexual harassment of female and male models — and the photographers, agents and others who perpetrated it — have circulated within the fashion world for years, model @cameronrussell started posting stories from models on Instagram last week about abusive situations they’ve encountered — from sexual harassment and molestation to attempted rape. Over 75 have weighed in so far. Read more on WWD.com. Link in bio. #wwdnews
To celebrate its 16th anniversary, @dylanscandybar tapped designers and celebrities to create mosaics out of candy. The mosaics will be auctioned off to support the philanthropic cause of each participant’s choice. Pictured here is the mural created by @aliceandolivia's Stacey Bendet. For a first look at some of the other artwork being unveiled tonight, go to WWD.com. #wwdeye
The annual Veuve Clicquot Polo Classic in Pacific Palisades this weekend drew Kate Hudson, Tracee Ellis Ross, Laura Dern and more. See pictures of the star-studded event on WWD.com. (📷: @chelsealaurenla) #wwdeye
In his new book “Hollywood Royale,” Andy Warhol’s Protégé Matthew Rolston celebrates the Eighties revival of Hollywood glamour. Featuring more than 100 portraits taken by Rolston from 1977 to 1993, the book contains photos of icons like Michael Jackson, Cyndi Lauper, and @drewbarrymore, pictured here in 1991. “Hollywood Royale,” out today, will be accompanied by an exhibition opening at Los Angeles’ Fahey/Klein Gallery on March 1. #wwdeye