A New Jersey supermarket employee who gunned down two co-workers and then killed himself there last month did not argue with or speak to any colleagues before he initially left the store, according to new information disclosed Saturday afternoon.
Terence Tyler, a 23-year-old former Marine who had worked at the store as an overnight clerk for less than two weeks, was armed with an assault-style rifle and two other weapons when he returned to the Old Bridge Pathmark on Aug. 31. Middlesex County Prosecutor Bruce Kaplan said Tyler legally obtained the weapons while in California, but the rifle — a WASR-10 Romanian, similar to an AK-47 assault weapon — was illegally modified.
Kaplan also said Tyler misrepresented certain details in applications to purchase the weapons, which he brought with him when he moved to New Jersey in June. Kaplan said the rifle Tyler had is illegal in New Jersey.
Specific details on the weapons were among several new pieces of information Kaplan made public. He said the decision to release additional details of the shooting came after authorities weighed the legitimate public interest against the privacy rights of the families of the two slain employees, 18-year-old Cristina LoBrutto and 24-year-old Bryan Breen, who both lived in Old Bridge.
Kaplan said Tyler left the store at 3:30 a.m. without talking to any of the 12 other employees in the store that night. He drove to his home in Old Bridge, changed into military-issue desert camouflage clothes and returned to the store about 30 minutes later.
Moments after arriving, Tyler left his vehicle and started firing the assault rifle as he headed toward the supermarket. He aimed at an employee who was standing outside the store but missed, and the employee ran inside to warn co-workers.
Tyler then entered the store and continued firing at employees, Kaplan said, but had no intended target and was firing randomly. He shot out the front of the store, shattering windows, and then fired at five co-workers. Tyler eventually killed himself, firing a single shot to his head with the .45-caliber handgun.
The Middlesex County Medical Examiner's Office determined that Breen died instantly, and LoBrutto died moments after being shot. Each died from a single gunshot wound.
Tyler was not wearing a bullet-proof vest when he opened fire, Kaplan said. The gunman fired 19 shots from the rifle, and police recovered 281 rounds of ammunition for the weapon.