Former Marine Faces Charges for Carrying a Gun While Helping Police During Mall Shooting in NJ

marine charged after helping cops at mall shooting

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A New Milford man faces a weapons charge for carrying a loaded weapon to the Westfield Garden State Plaza mall on Monday night after telling police he wanted to help them apprehend the gunman who fired shots inside the Paramus shopping center, authorities said Wednesday.

Cody J. Donovan, 22, was charged with unlawful possession of a weapon after a Bergen County detective arrested him at the mall around 11 p.m. Monday, as SWAT teams searched for a man who fired random shots from a rifle shortly before the mall was due to close at 9:30 p.m.

The gunman, who was later identified as Richard Shoop, 20, of Teaneck, killed himself in a storage area at the mall and his body was found around 3:20 a.m. Tuesday, authorities have said. They said Shoop apparently did not intend to shoot anyone at the mall and that no one else was injured.

Donovan is a former Marine police officer and a member of the New Milford Ambulance Corps, said his attorney, James Patuto. He said his client, who had been licensed to carry a weapon while he was in the Marines, went to the mall with other emergency medical technicians to offer assistance.

Donovan told police on Monday that he had a .45-caliber handgun tucked in his waistband, and that he did not have a permit to carry a firearm in New Jersey, a Bergen County Police detective, Ronald Salzano, wrote in an incident report.

Salzano wrote that he was outside the mall when he began following Donovan because he was wearing a dark leather jacket, similar attire to a description being circulated of the clothing worn by the mall gunman. Donovan told police that he is a “returning veteran” who was honorably discharged from the military in July and “just wanted to help authorities apprehend the suspect,” Salzano wrote.

Patuto said that before the arrest, a police officer asked his client to help with traffic control, and Donovan began directing cars out of the mall’s parking lot.

Donovan was released from Bergen County Jail in Hackensack on Tuesday after posting $25,000 bail, according to jail records.


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  1. trey mcmillan says

    If you read the story, you will see that he was a police officer in the Corp. As they say, no good deed goes unpunished. Stand tough, Marine. Semper Fi!

  2. Mike says

    Can’t compare civilian LEO’s to real patriots who serve their country in the military. If I had been that Marine, I would’ve shot that cop who was going to make an arrest because it would’ve been an illegal arrest & my liberty is more important to me than complying with tyrannical orders.