Former Marine police officer arrested for carrying loaded gun to Garden State Plaza during shooting

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Donovan, a former Marine police officer, was arrested after telling police he was carrying a loaded .45-caliber pistol without a license to carry firearm.

A former New Milford Marine police officer faces a weapons charge after it was discovered he illegally carried a concealed handgun while providing aid to law enforcement as they apprehended the gunman who fired shots inside the Paramus shopping center Monday night.

New Jersey’s 22-year-old Cody J. Donovan – a former Marine police officer and a member of the New Milford Ambulance Corps – went to the Westfield Garden State Plaza mall with other emergency medical technicians to offer his assistance. Per police request, Donovan aided with traffic control while SWAT teams flooded the mall in search for 20-year-old gunman Richard Shoop, who fired random shots from a rifle before turning the weapon on himself, North Jersey reported.

According to a police report, Bergen County Police detective Ronald Salzano spotted Donovan and began following him because he was wearing a dark leather jacket that matched a description of the gunman. After being stopped, Donovan told Salzano he was unlawfully carrying a .45-caliber handgun inside his waistband without a permit to carry a firearm. Though Donovan’s attorney, James Patuto, noted his client was licensed to carry a firearm while in the Marines.

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Shoop never fired rounds at shoppers, but fired randomly before eventually killing himself. His body was discovered several hours later in a remote section of the mall’s basement used for storage.

Detective Salzano also noted in his police report that Donovan mentioned he was an honorably discharged “returning veteran” and “just wanted to help authorities apprehend the suspect.”

Nonetheless, Donovan was arrested at approximately 11:00pm and charged with unlawful possession of a weapon. He was booked into the Bergen County Jail in Hackensack and later released after posting $25,000 bail.

[ North Jersey ]