The apparently anxious employee entered the store and shot two people before taking his own life, Old Bridge mayor Owen Henry reported.
“This is the worst phone call a mayor can receive,” Henry said of the information he obtained about 6:30 a.m. “You can prepare for these things but you can’t prevent them.”
Police officers responded to shots inside the Pathmark, where workers were stocking shelves, at 1043 Route 9 in Old Bridge before 4 a.m. The supermarket was scheduled to open at 6 a.m.
The killer was later identified as 23-year-old Terence Tyler, an Old Bridge resident and an ex-Marine who worked at the store for the last two weeks, writes ABC News.
According to sources, the gunman left the building around 4 a.m. and soon he was back, carrying an AK-47 and an automatic handgun.
Store employees told police that they locked the doors to the supermarket that when they saw the suspect returning armed. The gunman then shot out the windows and went inside.
Tyler shot the two other employees, a woman, 18, and a man, 24, in separate parts of the supermarket before committing suicide. Police reports say Tyler fired at least 16 shots, and that several magazine cartridges were found at the scene.
Middlesex County Prosecutor Bruce Kaplan did not reveal the names of the victims, but the reporters have found out they are Cristina LoBrutto, 18, and Bryan Breen, 24. Both were graduates of Old Bridge High School.
Police officers arrived at the place and discovered the bodies. After that all the other employees were evacuated to the adjacent TGI Fridays.
However, there were those who needed treatment for trauma at waiting ambulances. No shots were fired by police, as the incident was over when they arrived.
Authorities suggest that the two victims were not specifically targeted, but that everyone in the store was the target.
Manase Acheampong, 25, of Old Bridge, said the 23-year-old killer was a cousin of friend, and he dded, that Tyler did have a military background.
“He was just a local kid, and from what I’d seen, a normal kid. … I never would have guessed this in a million years,” said Acheampomg.
Situated nearby Old Bridge Park & Ride, which was closed by police for the investigation, has reopened. Buses are again stopping there, but the parking lots on the northbound side of Route 9 remain closed, officials said.
Commuters can use the lots on Route 9 at Jake Brown Road or Inverness Drive, according to NJ Transit. Bus tickets will be honored on North Jersey Coast Line trains today.
Victims’ friends and families are organizing a candlelight vigil for the killed, scheduled at sundown, between 7:45 and 8 p.m.
The meeting will be supposedly hold at the main entrance of their alma mater, but is still awaiting permission from the school.
The incident comes just weeks after a series of mass shootings shook the United States. In July, a gunman opened fire in a Colorado theater and earlier this month a white supremacist opened fire in a Sikh temple in Wisconsin.