Aug. 31, 2012 -- The man suspected of killing two people early this morning at an Old Bridge, N.J., grocery store before shooting himself to death is a 23-year-old former Marine who worked at the grocery store for two weeks, according to the town's mayor.
The suspect left the Old Bridge shopping plaza at about 4 a.m. and then returned to a Pathmark grocery store, having changed into camouflage clothing, Mayor Owen Henry said today. He was armed with an AK-47 and an automatic handgun when he entered the store, allegedly firing his weapon.
Middlesex County Prosecutor Bruce Kaplan said the victims were "not specifically targeted; everyone in the store was a target."
"Two of the employees were shot and killed. The others were able to hide and escape," Kaplan said. "There were two weapons that were found. One was an AK-47. And there were multiple magazines that were found in the store. And there was also a handgun."
Both victims, a man and a woman, were young adults, Henry said, adding that the woman was believed to be 18. The male victim was 24, according to WABC-TV.
The suspect shot himself after allegedly shooting the two young adults, according to Kaplan, who said that a total of 16 shots were fired.
Police responded to shots inside the Pathmark on Route 9 at 4 a.m. ET. The alleged gunman was dead when police arrived, Kaplan said.
His name could not be confirmed.
Two windows near the entrance to the Pathmark were shot out. The suspect might have started firing as he entered the store, accounting for the store's blown-out windows, Kaplan said.
The gunman's motive is still under investigation, Owen said, adding that law enforcement is in the process of notifying the families of the dead.
"This is the worst phone call a mayor can receive," Henry told The Star-Ledger newspaper earlier this morning of the information he obtained at about 6:30 a.m. "You can prepare for these things, but you can't prevent them."
Several employees were inside the store, which was preparing to open at 6 a.m. The other employees who were in the store at the time of the shooting were not injured, Owen said.
Numerous employees were taken across the street to a T.G.I. Friday's and many were treated for trauma at waiting ambulances.