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US supermarket worker shoots dead two, kills self

02 september 2012, 10:13
A man armed with a Kalashnikov-style automatic rifle and a handgun shot dead two people Friday at a supermarket in a town near New York, and then shot himself, AFP reports citing officials.

The attack took place at a Pathmark store in Old Bridge, New Jersey.

Middlesex County Prosecutor Bruce Kaplan told a televised news conference that the killer was 23 and his victims were an 18-year-old woman and a 24-year-old man.

"There are three dead individuals," Kaplan said. "Two of those individuals were innocent victims and the third deceased is the shooter who we believe killed himself."

All three were employees at the supermarket, which had not yet opened to the public for the day.

Kaplan said the gunman finished his night shift, returned with the weapons and started to shoot, firing at least 16 times.

About a dozen workers were in the store at the time and most were able to hide, Kaplan said.

The Asbury Park Press quoted Old Bridge Mayor Owen Henry as saying that the killer was a former US Marine who arrived at the store wearing camouflage.

His female victim had only graduated from high school this summer and was on her first night shift at the supermarket, the newspaper reported, while the male victim was attending a local college.

Congressman Frank Pallone, who represents New Jersey, said the bloodshed was further proof of the need to restrict gun sales in the country.

"Sadly, throughout our nation it is becoming all too common to wake up to the news of more Americans dying as a result of gun violence, and this time, it has hit even closer to home," he said in a statement.

"One thing we do know is that these weapons have no practical civilian use and their only purpose is to kill a lot of people quickly."

Mass shootings are a regular occurrence in the United States, most recently including bloody episodes at a movie theater in Colorado, where 12 people died in July, and at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin, where six people were killed in August.

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