OLD BRIDGE, N.J. (AP) — A New Jersey supermarket employee wearing military clothing opened fire at the closed store early Friday as a dozen or more co-workers worked inside, killing two of them and himself, a prosecutor said.
A law enforcement official identified the shooter as an ex-Marine who was discharged two years ago.
The 23-year-old man left his shift at a Pathmark store in Old Bridge Township around 3:30 a.m. and returned a half-hour later with a handgun and an AK-47 assault rifle, Middlesex County Prosecutor Bruce Kaplan said.
About 12 to 14 workers were in the store, he said. The man fired at least 16 rounds from the rifle at the first workers he saw, killing an 18-year-old woman and a 24-year-old man as other workers hid, Kaplan said.
"I do not believe that they were specifically targeted. I believe everybody in the store was a target," said Kaplan.
The gunman then killed himself, said Kaplan.
He did not release the name of the suspect, but a law enforcement official briefed on the investigation identified him as Terence Tyler, an ex-Marine who was discharged in 2010. The official spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because his agency is not in charge of the investigation.
Tyler, an infantryman, never served overseas, said Marine spokeswoman Capt. Kendra Motz. She wouldn't comment on the circumstances of his discharge. Tyler's home of record was Brooklyn.
John Niccollai, president of a foodworkers union that represents some store employees, said Pathmark officials and employees told him the gunman wore military clothing and had just punched out for the night before coming back into the store and opening fire.
Many of the employees escaped gunfire, Niccollai said, when an assistant manager, "who I would view as a hero," helped many workers to get out of the store through the back door.
Kaplan and police walked through the shooting scene at the supermarket Friday morning, with two long windows in the front completely shot through. Police kept onlookers away; a number of vehicles were in the parking lot outside, along with police cars.
The store and its parking lot were closed. Pathmark officials had no immediate comment.
Old Bridge is a bedroom community of about 65,000 just across the Raritan Bay from New York City's Staten Island borough.
New Jersey Transit closed its nearby park-and-ride lot for bus passengers and told riders that they could park in other park-and-ride lots or could ride a rail line.
Associated Press photographer Julio Cortez in Old Bridge and writer Geoff Mulvihill in Trenton, N.J., contributed to this report.