NJ Shooter Used Previously Confiscated Gun. Armed Volunteer Arrested

ABC LAX shooter recreation (courtesy bearingarms.com)

“The gun that a 20-year-old New Jersey man used to shoot up the Garden State Plaza [not shown] and ultimately turned on himself had previously been confiscated by police and was only recently returned to the shooter’s brother by order of a judge,” toledoblade.com reports. “Police previously took possession of the rifle — modified to look like an AK-47 and registered to Richard Shoop’s brother, Kevin Shoop — after what Bergen County Prosecutor John Molinelli said ‘may have been a domestic violence incident.’ In fact . . .

Recently — perhaps within the last few weeks, Molinelli said — a judge granted a request to return the gun to its owner. A friend of the Shoops said the gun was returned last week.

What’s the bet that the antis are bummed that the “mass shooting threat” didn’t go down during National Domestic Violence Awareness Month? Oh, and the DA says Shoop wasn’t crazy.

Asked if Shoop was paranoid, mentally ill, or whether police had been, in fact, monitoring Shoop, Mollinelli said: “It could be all of the above.”

He added: “He might have had a mental illness — we’ll continue to look at that. But as of right now, nothing has been brought to our attention to indicate a mental illness.”

Other than the fact that he killed himself after firing off rounds in a mall. Anyway, northjersey.com reports . . .

Cody J. Donovan, 22, was charged with unlawful possession of a weapon after a Bergen County detective arrested him at the mall around 11 p.m. Monday, as SWAT teams searched for a man who fired random shots from a rifle shortly before the mall was due to close at 9:30 p.m.

Cody J. Donovan's mug shot (courtesy northjersey.com)

Donovan [mug shot above] is a former Marine police officer and a member of the New Milford Ambulance Corps, said his attorney, James Patuto. He said his client, who had been licensed to carry a weapon while he was in the Marines, went to the mall with other emergency medical technicians to offer assistance.

Donovan told police on Monday that he had a .45-caliber handgun tucked in his waistband, and that he did not have a permit to carry a firearm in New Jersey, a Bergen County Police detective, Ronald Salzano, wrote in an incident report.

Salzano wrote that he was outside the mall when he began following Donovan because he was wearing a dark leather jacket, similar attire to a description being circulated of the clothing worn by the mall gunman. Donovan told police that he is a “returning veteran” who was honorably discharged from the military in July and “just wanted to help authorities apprehend the suspect,” Salzano wrote.

Patuto said that before the arrest, a police officer asked his client to help with traffic control, and Donovan began directing cars out of the mall’s parking lot.

Donovan was released from Bergen County Jail in Hackensack on Tuesday after posting $25,000 bail, according to jail records.

As Clare Boothe Luce famously opined, no good deed goes unpunished. [h/t CL]


  1. avatar ST says:

    “and that he did not have a permit to carry a firearm in New Jersey, a Bergen County Police detective, Ronald Salzano, wrote in an incident report.”

    The ex-Jarhead could have left that part out.Even foreigners know Jesus cant get good cause for a NJ Carry Permit.

    As to his decision to “help” authorities at the time, tsk tsk.There are few things leftist district attorneys hate more then a good guy with a gun.Best not to give them a case unless there’s literally no other choice.

    1. avatar William Burke says:

      Jesus probably couldn’t get a permit to carry a cross in NJ.

      1. avatar Adam says:

        Apparently Jesus isn’t allowed to carry a cross in NYC either.


        The cops took it from him.

  2. avatar bontai Joe says:

    Everybody gets punished in NJ, it’s the law. Cody Donovan caught a raw deal, but I don’t see him getting out of it easily. I feel bad for him because he was pretty much doing the right thing.

    1. avatar chuck (hates nj) says:

      I think when they asked him to help with traffic control it was supposed to be his way out.

      1. avatar mark_anthony_78 says:

        Yeah, agree or disagree with the laws all you want. If you KNOW you are illegally carrying a firearm you don’t hang a big “I’M A DUMB-ASS” sign over your head and point it out to police.

    2. avatar Stinkeye says:

      “Everybody gets punished in NJ, it’s the law.”

      And the punishment is having to be in New Jersey. Where’s the ACLU on this one?

    3. avatar PavePusher says:

      He should skip bail and come to Arizona. I doubt he could get extradited…..

  3. avatar Pencotron says:

    Um – why does the LAX shooter have a rifle with a grenade launcher?

    1. avatar William Burke says:

      That’s not a real question, right? Because we all know it was put there for effect – and to promote the idea that ALL AR-15s have them!

    2. avatar Jeff says:

      the same reason that the media immediately made graphics for the Navy yard shooter, who was immediately depicted as carrying an M16 with M203 – I mean literally the day of the event.

      then later, as we all now know, it turned out he was using an illegally modified boring-ass pump-action Big 5 bargain-bin shotgun.


  4. avatar William Burke says:

    “He might have had a mental illness”

    Had it WHERE? Where is this alleged “mental illness” located?

  5. avatar joe says:

    of course he has mental problems, every mass shooting has that same thing in common but lets look at the tool cause theres no way his crazyness woulda come out if he didnt have it. end sarc.

  6. avatar Dirk Diggler says:

    My ex wife is from NJ and her family still lives there. Enough said.

  7. avatar Albaniaaa says:

    Good guy with a gun arrested for exercising his 2nd amendment right and helping police. I think the NRA should get involved and a campaign to get NJ to become a shall issue state should be started. Christie is now secure as Governor again. He needs to look good for the red states if he wants a shot at getting through Republican primaries. I say this is a good catalyst to start change.

    1. avatar tdiinva says:

      This is a big time situational awareness failure on Donovan’s part. He should know the gun laws in the state he is residing in. It might not be right but that’s way it is. Maybe he can be a test case to get the law tossed. Bully for him. I may be semi-retired but I have no interest in being made famous in a SCOTUS ruling.

      1. avatar Albaniaaa says:

        Oh I don’t disagree with you. You are right. If it was me I would have never even went near the place once I knew police were already there. If I was in the mall and armed I would have used it defensively and then packed it away and left. Never mentioning it. However this guy is now screwed, might as well fight for what is right. He should reach out to the NRA.

  8. avatar JeffCville says:

    Beat me to the 203.

  9. avatar Dillon says:

    Reading the comments on the linked news article almost made me vomit.

    1. avatar Albaniaaa says:

      People who want to be victims sicken me. Usually they want everyone else to be on their level, thus they support being unarmed and a victim for everyone through law. Then they trash talk people who protect themselves adequately. Politicians love professional victims.

  10. avatar Fug says:

    What the hell is up with that graphic? A grenade launcher?

    1. avatar mpow66m says:

      its for potatoes fool!lol.:)

      1. avatar Defens says:

        Those things should be banned! It’s for the spuds!

        1. avatar Mike H in Seattle says:

          You are far more likely to be killed with your own spud launcher, therefore you shouldn’t own one.

          Besides, only racists own spud launchers.

  11. avatar Don says:

    I was wondering if any constitutional carriers were picked up during the massive mall stop and frisk evacuation…

  12. avatar Don says:

    I wouldn’t have even thought about going in “to help”. That’s just stupid. The LEOs don’t need your help. Your presence will just confuse them and slow them down.

    My first thought would have been to get as far away from the mall and parked vehicles in the parking lot as possible; fearing that what was going on inside was the lure for a draw-in attack targeting the hundreds of police who had swarmed the parking lot.

  13. avatar uncommon_sense says:

    Wow, talk about a case where we need Jury Nullification.

    1. avatar Ralph says:

      Y’know what nullification is in New Jersey? It’s when they send this poor bastard away for life instead of giving him a fine.

  14. avatar Ralph says:

    Cody J. Donovan may be well-meaning, but he’s still a dope.

    Yes, I favor Constitutional Carry. But NJ doesn’t have it now and probably never will. What the hell was Donovan thinking?

    1. avatar Stinkeye says:

      Heck, even if you forget about the “illegally carrying” bit, he’s still a dope. Going to a confused, chaotic “active shooter” situation as Joe Private Citizen and offering to help the cops is ridiculously idiotic by itself. Doing it with a gun in your pants, in New Jersey? That kind of stupidity is rare. There are lots of stupid people out there, but this cat has raised the bar.

    2. avatar Yup says:

      Actually every single state in the country has constitutional carry. Just because a state ignores part of the constitution doesn’t make it legal or correct. If NJ decided the 1st amendment required an ID to exercise it wouldn’t make it legal. Oppressive leaders (NJ government) enact a gang of thugs (NJ police) to arrest law abiding citizens (covered under the 2nd amendment).

      Was this specific guy stupid? Yes. Not the best judgement for multiple reasons. Still he went straight to the police, listed his credentials, made them aware he was armed, and asked if he could help… in reality what he did was perfectly fine and not dumb at all. However because of the gang running NJ it becomes illegal and we call it “dumb” that he exercised his freedom responsibly.

  15. avatar Fred says:

    So now an AK47 is an M16A2 with M203? You’d think journalists could use Google images one of these days, but then again fact checking isn’t necessary any longer unless a competitor makes the correction first.

    1. avatar Matt in FL says:

      The graphic was from the LAX reconstruction, not the NJ incident. But your point stands, he didn’t have an M203. Ignorance or indifference, maybe a little on purpose thrown in.

  16. avatar mpow66m says:

    man i cant wait to get out of nj,the forst things im buying are a bunch of 30 rnd pmags,folding/collapsable stock and a potatoe launcher slung under my bbl.

  17. avatar Adub says:

    Maybe he couldn’t afford the license. IL wants $150 for a license and CCW classes run $285. Yeah, you can have your “right.” Just pay $435 and we’ll let you exercise it. We should apply it to the 1st Amendment too. Liberal speech is way more dangerous…

    1. avatar alpo says:

      In the Civil Disarmament Republic of NJ private citizens can’t carry. Period.
      We’re May Issue on the but no one gets approved unless they’re super connected.

    2. avatar Mr Pierogie says:

      It’s not the fees that are the problem in NJ. It’s that even if a police captain gave you the OK to get a CCW permit (extremely rare), it then has to be approved by a judge who will deny it without thinking about it twice, whether your life is in danger or you just want to exercise your rights.

      Going back to Donovan… A small army responded to the mall shooter. Why did he go down there to offer help, especially with a gun and no permit to carry? Don’t count on the NRA to get involved, they gave up on NJ long time ago.

  18. avatar Blue says:

    The NJ shooter was at the very lest a habitual substance abuser which is a no go on the form 4473.

  19. avatar gk99 says:

    The computer animation pictures shows an AR variant with an (assumeably) M203 grenade launcher attached. WHAT?! A grenade launcher was not used or even present at the scene!!!!
    F***ing anti-gunners that have to make the guns look scary in order to emotionally push for more anti-civil rights gun confiscation laws. I’m so mad, I almost in disbelief!!!!!

    Those mainstream media F***ing anti-civil right/anti-gun sheep are all lying a**holes!

  20. avatar S. Cautela says:

    ABC News “Virtual View” was indefensible… Why not depict the shooter with a 20mm chain gun if you want to advance your gun grabbing adgenda.

  21. avatar S. Cautela says:

    “Agenda”… sp

  22. avatar Jonathan -- Houston says:

    It’s just one source and it’s still fairly early in the unfolding of the story, so we’re still in rush to judgment territory. Still, the picture as painted so far certainly doesn’t look good for this guy. It’s one thing to practice civil disobedience. It’s another simply to flout the law because it’s inconvenient for you. Although,we could all see that one coming, right? If one can’t be bothered to holster one’s illegally carried concealed weapon, then what are the odds of going through the lengthy process of complying with the law itself? And where does this alleged do-gooder get off trying to “help authorities apprehend the suspect”, anyway? He’s as apt to get himself or someone else shot by leaping into the fray unannounced and unneeded as anything else.

    Really, I’m all for legally carrying a concealed self-defense firearm and I do so every day everywhere allowed. Moreover, in our household we’ve discussed and hashed out our own predetermined rules of engagement should we encounter various deadly violent situations. None of which, however, entails eagerly injecting ourselves into active shooter scenes where a massive SWAT response is already all over it. I bet the DA is going to want to take a very close look at Dudley Not-Bright’s service discharge papers. There may be more to that angle of the story than there appears.

  23. avatar BobS says:

    I guess I’ll point this question to Ralph or any of the other lawyers on this site:

    Notwithstanding the stupidity of this guy; Do you think this would make a good test case against NJ anti-gun laws all the way to the USSC based upon “shall NOT” and “infringement” and the fact NJ is pretty much defacto a no-carry state?

    Given the fact that in order to get “standing” to fight that type of battle a person has to be willing to “roll the dice” on being able to retain their 2nd amendment right it’s going to hard to find a squeaky-clean person willing to do that unless they are terminally ill or something.

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