"As far as anything goes into the drugs or any of the other rumors out there, no comment," Kevin Shoop said.
Chaos erupted shortly before the mall's 9:30 p.m. closing time when authorities said a man dressed in black and wearing a motorcycle helmet fired six shots. Molinelli said the gun, which was modified to look like an AK-47 assault rifle, belonged to Richard Shoop's brother, who owned it legally and did not give the shooter permission to take it.
Shoop's body was discovered around 3:20 a.m. Tuesday in a back corridor of the mall, deep within a lower level, in an area that is not accessible to the public, Paramus police Chief Kenneth Ehrenberg said. Shoop did not work at the mall, he said, and investigators were still trying to determine why he went there.
Madison Barbarini, a close friend of Shoop's since kindergarten, said he was popular and "would never hurt a fly."
Barbarini said Shoop told her last week he had found a new job.
"He told me that he was going to get a new job at this TV place and he was going to make good money," she said.
At Victor's Pizzeria & Italian Restaurant in Teaneck, where Shoop worked for several years, owner Dod Geges said Shoop texted him on Friday to say he was running late, then never showed.
Geges said in an email Tuesday that he couldn't imagine Shoop carrying a gun into a mall. "He was always sad if he heard something like that on TV," Geges said.
Barbarini, who graduated from Teaneck High School in 2011 with Shoop, said he was involved in theater and fencing, then attended Bergen Community College.
She said he quit college to work full-time at the pizzeria and recently purchased a motorcycle.