When Terence Tyler's mother died five years ago, he announced to relatives that he wanted to join the military and go to war.
"His mother was his best friend. He lost his father when he was younger. So he had no parents," his cousin, Shanteya Dyson, told the I-Team.
He did join the armed services, but he never made it to war. Friday morning, heavily armed and dressed in camouflage, he shattered the glass window of the Pathmark where he worked and killed two coworkers before turning his gun on himself.
It was an unlikely end for Tyler, who served from 2008 to 2010 in the U.S. Marine Corps, reaching the rank of lance corporal. His uncle, Christopher Dyson, who also works at Pathmark, said Tyler had a nursing degree and a job as a nurse in San Diego before quitting to come back East.
He hoped to go to Las Vegas to study physical therapy, Christopher Dyson said.
"He was a quiet cat," he said. "He got paid pretty well. He was happy."
He formerly lived in Brooklyn, but was stationed in 2010 in Twentynine Palms, Calif., a Marines spokesman said. Tyler had never served overseas, but received two medals -- a Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, and a National Defense Service Medal.
He may have had a history of depression or mental illness, a law enforcement source said.
Shanteya Dyson said he would often call her from California to check on her young daughter. Tyler, a rifleman, frequently talked about which guns he was shooting.
"He was like, 'I'm learning to shoot guns.' He was a rifleman, so he knew everything about guns," she said.
His uncle said the family had no idea Tyler had weapons.
On a Facebook page belonging to a Terence Tyler with the same Marines service dates as the shooter was a note reading, "Be optimistic -- All the people you hate are going to eventually die." According to that Facebook page, he graduated in 2007 from George Westinghouse Career and Technical Education High School in Brooklyn, and his activities and interests were listed as "sports and hitting the gym."
He wrote on his Twitter account in October 2009, "I'm starting to see why plp go on killin sprees," he wrote in October 2009, using the handle @Tylerbkstyle. And these (obscenity) are reeeeeeally pushin my kill everyone I see button."
After he was discharged in 2010, Dyson said Tyler attended college in San Diego before moving back to Brooklyn, and then to New Jersey.