Three people are dead including an alleged gunman, following an apparent shootout inside a New Jersey supermarket Friday morning.
Police arrived to the Pathmark, located at 1043 Route 9 near Ernston Road in Old Bridge, to respond to reports of shots fired inside the store at about 4:15 a.m. Reports say the gunman was a disgruntled current employee who was attempting an armed robbery.
The alleged gunman was working the overnight shift and left at 3:30 a.m. to walk back to his home in the Park Ridge Apt. complex behind the Pathmark. He then changed into camouflage and donned a bullet-proof vest, and armed himself with an AK-47 and a shotgun.
He went back to the supermarket at 4 a.m. and opened fire, killing two co-workers. The victims were employees who were restocking shelves at the time of the shooting. Reports say the victims were a 18-year-old woman and 24-year-old man who were Old Bridge residents.
At least 16 shots were fired by the gunman. Police did not fire any shots.
Officials said in a press conference that they do not believe the two victims were targeted, rather all the employees were targets.
The other 12 to 14 employees who were in the store either hid from the gunman or escaped from the store. They were the ones who contacted police to report the shooting.
The gunman had then apparently barricaded himself at the back of the store. He had already killed himself by the time SWAT team discovered his body and the body of the two victims. The gunman is said to have been a 23-year-old former Marine, and neighbors tell PIX11 News his name was “Tyrese.”
The Pathmark employees were escorted by police to a staging area established at the T.G.I. Friday’s, across the parking lot from the supermarket, for questioning. They were later taken to a nearby police precinct.
It is unclear if any of them were injured but request for medical attention was called at the front of the store.
PIX11 News observed two shattered windows at the front of the supermarket. Officials say the gunman may have opened fire as he approached the store.
Several police cars and emergency vehicles were seen in the parking lot and area streets were blocked to traffic. FBI also responded to the scene.
NJ Transit’s Old Bridge Park & Ride was also closed due to police activity. The area surrounding the apartment complex was also cordoned off.
Pathmark in Old Bridge is open to customers from seven days a week from 6 a.m. to 1 a.m. It will remain closed Friday for the duration of the investigation.
“We are terribly saddened by the incident at our Old Bridge Pathmark store this morning. We express our deepest sympathies to the families of the victims and our appreciation to local law enforcement,” said Pathmark spokesperson Marcy Connor.
“Our main concern is the safety of our associates and customers. We continue to work with local authorities during the investigation. At this time, we cannot comment on the ongoing police investigation regarding the incident.”
It was just last week, on Friday August 17, when another disgruntled employee opened fire at his workplace.
Jeffrey Johnson, 58, fatally shot his ex-employer, Steve Ercolino, 41, a vice president of Hazan Imports in midtown Manhattan. Johnson was chased down by nearby police and killed. Nine pedestrians were injured by stray bullets or bullet fragments.
Johnson was laid off from his job as a women’s accessories designer last year and had been harassing Ercolino ever since.