YOU READ IT HERE FIRST: A U.S. Marine veteran who authorities said took a loaded gun to Monday night’s shooting at the Garden State Plaza responded entirely on his own and not as part of the New Milford Ambulance Corps, as erroneously reported elsewhere, a police official said this morning.
Cody J. Donovan, 22, “wasn’t with the ambulance corps that night,” New Milford Police Chief Frank Papapietro told CLIFFVIEW PILOT . “He ‘self-dispatched’ to the scene of the shooting.”
Detective Ronald Salzano of the Bergen County Office of Emergency Management began following Donovan outside the mall just before 11 p.m. Monday because he was wearing a dark leather jacket and seemed suspicious.
“No one knew whether this guy was with the shooter, or even if he was the shooter,” Papapietro said.
A published report says the 6-foot, 190-pound Donovan told police he wanted to help catch 20-year-old Richard Shoop of Teaneck, who prompted a lockdown of the mall and a massive search that ended when his body was found with a self-inflicted bullet wound to the head.
Police said they found Donovan carrying a loaded .45-caliber handgun — for which he didn’t have a permit — in his waistband.
Donovan posted $25,000 bail Tuesday afternoon and was released from the Bergen County Jail pending grand jury action on second-degree weapons possession charges.
“What possessed him to carry a loaded firearm to a scene like that is beyond me,” Papapietro told CLIFFVIEW PILOT . “What we do know is that he was not part of any organized EMS response that night.”
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