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Shooter in New Jersey Mall Found Dead; Burglars Arrested at School in Denver; Interview with John Molinelli; Gubernatorial Races Culminate Today

Aired November 5, 2013 - 07:00   ET


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is NEW DAY with Chris Cuomo, Kate Bolduan, and Michaela Pereira.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning. Welcome back to NEW DAY. It is Tuesday, November 5th, 7:00 in the east. And we do have breaking news. The all-night manhunt for a gunman who fired shots at a New Jersey shopping mall is over. The 20-year-old suspect was found dead overnight in a rear area of the mall, apparently from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. The shooting triggering panic, just before closing, and then, a massive police response. We're getting late details from police about the shooting. They say the shooter may have been motivated by drug use, the desire for suicide, or some other type of disturbance. We're learning more. We'll tell it to you as we know.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Also breaking overnight, in Denver police surround a middle school and arrest two suspects reportedly armed who had broken into the school. We'll have a live update on that, just ahead.

First, let's get right back to the latest on the New Jersey mall shooting. CNN's Poppy Harlow is live at the Garden State Mall in Paramus, New Jersey. Poppy, what are police saying about a possible motive here?

POPPY HARLOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, good morning to you, Kate. This is a 20-year-old that police say busted into the mall behind me just after 9:00 p.m. last night, shooting six rounds and ultimately taking his own life just after 3:00 a.m.


HARLOW: Chaos at a shopping center in New Jersey overnight.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We heard four gunshots. And everybody was scared, everybody was panicked. So we took everybody, we went in the back of the store, we locked ourselves in with 13 people in total, including me.

HARLOW: Hundreds of police, SWAT and emergency teams swarmed the Westfield Garden State Plaza Mall in search of a gunman who authorities believe fired six rounds just before closing time. The gunman, 20-year-old Richard Shoop, was discovered dead just after 3:00 a.m., his body found lying in a remote area of the mall. Authorities say he had a self-inflicted gunshot wound. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Originally from Washington township, New Jersey, now living in Teaneck, New Jersey. He's 20 years old, and his body was discovered just about an hour ago with a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head area. He himself went to the area where he did this. It was a very difficult area of the mall, behind some construction.

HARLOW: No one else was injured in the shooting. State police say the gunman fired shots at security cameras.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He was actually wearing a red and black motorcycle helmet. The visor was lifted up so I was able to see his face. He was a white male. He wasn't really aiming at anything. He was walking a little bit past the Apple store. He wasn't yelling. He didn't seem angered. He was kind of just walking.

HARLOW: Police say Shoop was carrying a rifle modified to look like an AK-47 stolen from his brother.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It looked like an AK-47 but it is not an AK-47. It's where you take the handgun and modify it to make it look like something it is not. But it is a lawful gun owned by the brother.

HARLOW: And police say Shoop has no history of mental illness but say he abused drugs.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We do believe that the main motive for what he did tonight was suicide, whether self-inflicted or, god forbid, suicide by cop which no one ever wants to see. It looked like that was his motive.


HARLOW: It is a tragic situation, horrifying for the people here, but Kate, I can tell you, it could have been so much worse. The Burgin County prosecutor told me here overnight that Shoop could have killed other people, witnesses, people in the mall said he was in range to have shot them and possibly killed them but he chose not to. And that's why police say that he really -- they don't think he came here to kill other people but rather to take his own life.

I can also tell you they found a note inside the home where he lives which is not far from here at all, and that note obviously concerned authorities. Also important to note, it is a relative authorities say, of Shoop, the shooter, who called them just after 10:00 p.m. last night after hearing about this on the news, thinking that it could be their own relative. Police connected the dots, and then, again, just shortly after 3:00 a.m. found Shoop dead in a very remote area of this mall. Still many unanswered questions, but, thank goodness, all of those people got out alive.

CUOMO: That's exactly right, poppy. The police responded quickly. The family did what they could when they could and yet it all came down to the actions of the shooter that made what could be a horrible situation less so. Hard to understand what it would be like inside of a place. We're fortunate that everybody made it out. Let's be joined by Leo Acevedo. He works a kiosk inside the mall. You just saw him in that last piece, but his perspective. Leo, are you with us? Can you understand what I'm saying?


CUOMO: Leo, thanks for joining us. So you're in the store, at work. When did you first realize that there was a shooting?

ACEVEDO: At first it really just seemed like a fire is what came to mind when I saw a lot of the commotion and saw people running. I was very confused, very shocked at first. I didn't really know how to react if I should run with the crowd or continue on about the day? I wasn't so sure what to do.

I noticed there were shots that were separated apart, probably 15 to 20 seconds apart, and that's when I really realized what was going on. I kind of shifted my body a little bit and realized there was a gunman on the second floor, and I just ran into a store, tried to get to the safest place possible.

CUOMO: Were you able to see him, see what he was doing?

ACEVEDO: He was wearing a helmet so the majority portion of his face was covered. He was definitely in a full body leather suit. He kind of just looked like a biker. He had a rifle in his hands. He didn't really seem angry or engaged at anyone specifically. He was just, you know, moving quickly. You know, he wasn't pointing it at anyone, just moving at a quick pace.

CUOMO: We've been told there are lockdown drills for this mall and that people may have known what to do in a situation like this. Do you know anything like that, being an employee there?

ACEVEDO: No, I do not. The mall does a good job of protecting everyone that works there. I've been here for four years. Everything has been fine up to this point. I'm sure everyone is working hard to make sure everything turns out better for everyone.

CUOMO: What did you do in that situation, how did you hide?

ACEVEDO: Well, actually, conveniently, I went to the nearest store and they let me station in their bathroom. There was only one other employee there. It was very tough, you know, just to wait it out and see how everyone was going to react. I just heard screams through the mall. A bunch of yelling and people not knowing what's going on, not having a visual of what was going on outside and waiting to see if someone was going to come help us, anyone. I really didn't know what to do except for to wait.

CUOMO: Did you hear any more shots? How did you decide when it was safe to leave, or did someone decide for you?

ACEVEDO: Well, actually, the store phone rang around 10:30 p.m. We had already been in there for been an hour. Another half hour passed by and I went out and saw the police officers, everyone was armed. They told us to hang on, somebody will come get us and that's when we heard the SWAT team come in there and we were able to get out thereof.

CUOMO: Good. Obviously all your loved ones know you're OK, right, Leo?

ACEVEDO: Yes, yes. Thank you.

CUOMO: Thank you for joining us. So happy that all of you made it out there. Appreciate you coming on NEW DAY this morning.

ACEVEDO: Thank you. Have a good one. Take care.

CUOMO: You too, Leo.

BOLDUAN: Meantime, another incident is unfolding in Colorado. Two juveniles are in custody after apparently breaking into a school and reportedly they were armed. I want to get back to Ana Cabrera. She's in Denver. She's been following the latest developments. Good morning, Ana.

ANA CABRERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Kate. We have new information within the last 10 minutes. We heard from Denver police chief Robert White telling us they believe the motive was burglary. They have located the two guns involved in this incident as well as a couple of backpacks that were seen being taken into the school by these two young boys who broke into the school late last night. They were witnessed by a couple of workers here at the school, which is just a couple of blocks behind us. Media was pushed back as police did their investigation. At this point, though, they have cleared the scene.

The good news again here is those two boys are in custody right now. Police are interviewing them. They're believed to be 15 years old. Not students of the school. But apparently they broke in, they ransacked several schools and, again, have since been taken into custody, Kate.

BOLDUAN: Ana, the scene has been cleared so police think it's safe and school will happen, school will be on schedule as usual today?

CABRERA: Exactly. So, again, fortunately they were able to wrap up this incident very quickly after those two employees were able to call police. Police made contact with the two individuals in the school. They surrendered to police and so at this point, they believe that this situation was an isolated incident and they have no reason for there to be any more concern and they expect school to continue as usual for not only this school but the rest of the Denver public school district.

BOLDUAN: Still, very scary news to be waking up to for families of the Denver public schools this morning. Ana, thank you very much for the very latest.


MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN ANCHOR: I want to bring you up to date on the headlines right now. We are now hearing from the family of a man accuse of opening fire on TSA officers, killing one and wounding several others at Los Angeles International Airport. In a statement, Paul Ciancia's family says they're shocked and numbed by what happened. They are asking for understanding and offer condolences for the dead and the wounded. Ciancia is still in the hospital, in critical condition, and unable to speak.

Secretary of State John Kerry arrives in Israel today in an effort to bring new life into Israeli Palestinian peace talks. There's been little progress coming from the secret meetings. Kerry will meet separately with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, urging both to come to a deal before a deadline set by Washington.

A Florida jury delivers a guilty verdict in the murder against Eric Rivera. He was charged with killing former Washington Redskins safety Sean Taylor back in 2007. Taylor was shot after surprising intruders who had broken into his home. Jurors deliberated for four days before convicting Rivera of second degree murder. He could still face life in prison.

It is a global day of resistance from the hacker group Anonymous. The so-called million mask march is expected in cities around the globe. The group's Facebook page says the events are to remind people, fairness, justice, freedom are more than just words. The events coincide with Guy Fox day, marking a failed attempt to blow up the British houses of parliament back in the 17th century.

Perhaps he was just trying to help out the officials, but Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo thought he would adjust the placement of the ball during Sunday's game against the Minnesota Vikings, so he made this crafty move, nudging the ball to get it right on the first down line. He didn't get away with it, though. Vikings defensive end Jared Allen caught him red handed. Moment of levity or subterfuge, what do you think? It was obvious that he did it. I don't think there was subterfuge there.

BOLDUAN: It's all a joke, he says. It was a joke.

CUOMO: Would he have told the ref if the spot were accepted as where he pushed it? Tweet us, Karen Maginnis is in for Indra Petersons. She has the forecast. Karen, what do you think, was it intentional?

KAREN MAGINNIS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: It didn't look that subtle to me.


MAGINNIS: Here's the weather for you. Election Day in New Jersey also for Virginia, it looks pretty good as high pressure will start to drift a little bit further towards the east. But a vigorous but fast- moving funnel system will make its way towards the east. So by late Wednesday and going into Thursday, you'll see some pretty unsettled weather.

So if you are travelers, looks like the next couple of days look pretty good. And temperatures are markedly warmer than they were yesterday morning. We were looking at 20s and 30s, 20s over in Buffalo. Now, that may not sound so shocking to you, today temperatures are in the upper 30s, 42 degrees right now in New York City. So starting out pretty nice, crisp but looking pretty good.

For New York City, in central park, yesterday the high temperature made it to 46. It will be in the low 50s come this afternoon. And then as we go into Wednesday, those temperatures are expected to be in the 60s, which is slightly love normal. So that's some pretty good news. Boston, you could see your first new mayor in 20 years there. Today, it looks like temperatures only in the upper 40s. Back to you guys.

BOLDUAN: All right, Karen, thank you so much for that. Coming up next on NEW DAY, as Karen mentioned, it's Election Day 2013. And we're breaking down some of the major races with our political panel.

CUOMO: Plus, we're getting the very latest on that shooting in New Jersey. The gunman is dead. We're going to talk to the prosecutor to find out what happens next.


BOLDUAN: Welcome back to NEW DAY. Let's get straight back to New Jersey where a gunman is dead after opening fire at a shopping mall overnight. We're joined by John Molinelli, the Bergen County prosecutor.

Thank you so much for coming in this morning. A wild overnight and a busy morning for you.


BOLDUAN: Of course. It appears, we're told, that this was a suicide attempt but what more are you learning now about why this man did this?

MOLINELLI: Well, we know that his intent was either suicide or to do something that would cause police to shoot him, which we call suicide by cop. He had more than enough opportunity to be able to shoot other people. When he did discharge his weapon, there was just a large number of people immediately adjacent to him and he did not shoot anyone. Instead he shot randomly at different locations. Why he did it, I mean, he did have issues concerning narcotic abuse. You know, was going through some difficult times, this is what the family members did tell us. Perhaps, you know, my thought is that would be the reason why he did what he did last night.

BOLDUAN: We have heard that the family said they might not have been surprised that things played out like this or that it ended this way for him. What have they said?

MOLINELLI: I'm sorry, could you say that again.

BOLDUAN: We have heard the family said they were not surprised that it ended this way for them. What more has the family told you? MOLINELLI: Right. Well, that, you know, he's had some issues over the last several months, a feeling that things were going to end soon. Of course it could be jail or could have been what happened. But the family did give us an indication that he was looking to end his life. You know, based upon the drug use, based upon other issues. He was only 20 years old. You have to wonder what a 20-year-old would be going through to have him do something like this. Invariably it's based upon the drug use and the distribution. He was selling the drugs as well.

BOLDUAN: And you've said that he left a note. Was this a suicide note?

MOLINELLI: It was a note that you could definitely interpret as such. It made reference to the fact that the end was coming. That could mean going to jail, getting arrested, or it could mean suicide. We're not altogether sure that he left it immediately before leaving for the mall. But it is something that would at least give you an idea what his mindset was at least in the weeks leading up to last night.

BOLDUAN: With everything you've learned overnight, are there any lingering concerns that anyone else was involved?

MOLINELLI: No. We're 100 percent satisfied that Mr. Shoop was the only one involved.

BOLDUAN: A tragic ending for this man but it could have been much, much worse as you and many others have said. So many people were in that mall. Thank you very much, John Molinelli. Great to see you, thank you very much for your time.

MOLINELLI: You're quite welcome.

CUOMO: Tough for that family.

BOLDUAN: Very tough for that family.

CUOMO: And again, as we said, it's always nice to have one of these stories where people make it out because they're happening more and more often.

BOLDUAN: Hundreds of people in the mall at that time.

CUOMO: All right, we're going to take a break here on NEW DAY. When we come back, there's new insight into the Dolphins' alleged bullying situation. Voicemails from the suspended player to his teammate, the same one who left the team over the situation. You decide if these voicemails are over the line.

BOLDUAN: Plus, we're hearing from Michele Knight, held captive for years by Ariel Castro. She's now breaking her silence about the horrors she went through. Stay with us.


ANNUONCER: You're watching new day with Chris Cuomo, Kate Bolduan and Michaela Pereira.

BOLDUAN: Welcome back to NEW DAY, everyone. It is election day. Check your calendar, Tuesday, November 5th. Remember to go out and vote. Coming up in the show, has hazing in the NFL, though, gone too far? A player abandons his team and another is suspended for an incident that has the Miami Dolphins reeling. The latest coming up.

CUOMO: Plus, we are hearing about the horror that was Michele Knight's life. She's speaking out about the years spent as Ariel Castro's captive and telling in full detail what was done to her. We'll bring you her story coming up.

PEREIRA: We want to give you the headlines that are making news at this hour. The gunman who opened fire at a New Jersey mall last night is dead. Authorities telling CNN Richard Shoop's body was found early this morning after apparently taking his own life. He opened fire just before the mall closed, sending shoppers and workers scrambling. But his shots, apparently, hit no one.

Two teenagers now in custody after a tense standoff in Denver. Police say the pair broke into a middle school. They were carrying backpacks and guns and they stayed in that school for hours. Their apparent motive, burglary, apparently. Police say the two tried to get into an elementary school earlier in the evening.

A federal lawsuit has been filed by the parents of a California teen who was shot and killed by police last month. The lawsuit alleges a Sonoma County deputy sheriff opened fire on 13-year-old Andy Lopez with almost no warning. Lopez was carrying a pellet gun that looked like an automatic rifle. Investigators say ten seconds passed between the reports of a suspicious person and the gunshots.

Week four of the Martin MacNeill trial resuming later this morning in Utah. Four inmates who served time with MacNeill are expected to take the stand and testify that MacNeill confessed to killing his wife. And that he didn't think police would be able to prove it. The former doctor is accused of murdering his wife so he could continue an extramarital affair.

A bit of a T-shirt controversy involving a graphic artist and the NSA. They spy agency is trying to stop Dan McCall (ph) from selling these T-shorts, which have the NSA logo. A company by the slogan "Peeping While You're Sleeping" and "The Only Part Of Government That Actually Listens". McCall is now fighting back, and suing the NSA for violating his first amendment rights. The NSA told us that anyone who wants to use its logo must of course get permission first. McCall says he'll keep selling the T-shirts through his website until the government shuts it down.

Those are your headlines at this hour, 7:27 in the east. Kate, over to you.

BOLDUAN: All right, Michaela, thanks so much.

It is election day and we're following big gubernatorial races in New Jersey and Virginia. Let's bring in CNN political commentator and columnist at "The Blaze," Will Cain on the right, along with CNN political commentator and host of "Huff Post Live," Marc Lamont Hill on the left. Lots to talk about, guys.



BOLDUAN: Let's start in New Jersey and Virginia.


BOLDUAN: Your two favorite states.

HILL: Yes.

BOLDUAN: Do you ascribe to the notion we have to watch Virginia and New Jersey closely in these governors' races? Because they make a very big statement about what will happen in the midterms and 2016, or are we making too much of it?

HILL: I think we're making too much of it. These are two unusual cases. Virginia Terry McAuliffe has the benefit of out-spending his opponent in the stretch 25-1. He's connected to the Clintons, President Obama supported him. His opponent, Cuccinelli, is an odd candidate who is on the extreme right and kind of was ushered into that position in an unusual way. This isn't a normal Virginia race.

New Jersey is interesting because it gives us a sense of how Christie is going to manage his campaign when he ultimately decides he wants to be a candidate for president in 2016. He's obviously leaning toward the middle, he's obviously trying to get a wide coalition. He's doing a very good job of managing his campaign, even had Corey Booker have a special election on a different day so he could win by 40 percent so he could look like he has a mandate. That's a big deal.

CAIN: I agree with Marc, though what we want to do - we always want to take story lines and layer them on top of these local elections and see if we can draw some larger narratives, and it's hard to do especially two very unique situations, New Jersey and Virginia. I'll give you two narratives, perhaps we can carry forward, Kate.

One, New Jersey illustrates for us that politics is about personality. You can see what you want about Chris Christie reaching out to women and minorities but it's all about Chris Christie having a magnetic, strong personality. In the end that's what people vote for.

And I think the other one, Virginia, the narrative there that we can take out is about tactics. You have seen the war on women ramped up, dialed up to a 12 on the meter. You've seen Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden go down there to help talk about that. You'll hear about it again in '14, '16, you heard about it in '12. The war on women is a tactic.

HILL: There's one more piece, though, and that is that the extreme right is not going to win national elections. I think this might be a sign of that. Whether it's the ridiculous tactics even here locally with De Blasio versus Lhota, whether it's McAuliffe's opponent, Cuccinelli, also being an extreme - I mean he was an extreme right wing even as attorney general.

And then we look in New Jersey, Christie is an example of what happens when you're not an extreme right winger. I think that might be a sign too. It might be bad news for Ted Cruz.

BOLDUAN: Well then some - and Democrats say that the Virginia race is a referendum on the Tea Party. Republicans say the Virginia race is a - trying to make it about a referendum on Obamacare. So, is it a referendum on the Tea Party?

CAIN: No. I don't think so. Again, this is - this is a very unique situation. First of all, what do you have? You have an incumbent Republican administration that's scandal-plagued. Cuccinelli was somewhat apart of. You have Terry McAuliffe, who has scandals rife throughoug his career as well. I don't know how you can take national election or national storylines like the shutdown or Obamacare and say that's what this is about.


CAIN: It's about a lot more than that.

BOLDUAN: But, isn't - in New Jersey, isn't Chris Christie kind of welcoming it?