, when the killer, Terence Tyler, was in the Marines, he tweeted: “… is it normal to want to kill ALL of ur coworkers? Maybe but I’m actually in a position where I can.” Apparently no one did anything about that.
Which leads to Anti-Homicide Rule Number One: When a person you know talks about his desire to kill people, don’t ignore it. Don’t tell yourself, “It doesn’t mean anything, he’s just blowing off steam.” Take it seriously. Understand that there are three stages of wrongdoing: thought, word, and deed. A person who tells others about his desire to kill people has graduated to the second stage, and could very well go on to the third. If he’s a rational person, and you are on speaking terms with him, tell him that talking about his desire to kill people is wrong. That may be enough to get him to stop the behavior, and not go further with it. (See how I responded to a reader who spoke about his desire to commit violence.) If he’s a fellow employee or fellow soldier, inform your higher-ups about the behavior.
Which leads to Anti-Homicide Rule Number Two: If a fellow employee gives you a “very bad feeling, an uneasy vibe,” don’t ignore that feeling.
Do something about it. At least bring the problem to the attention of your supervisors.
And here’s another rule. Given blacks’ vastly higher propensity to violence, the rule of caution applies particularly if your fellow employee is black—which, by the way, the Pathmark shooter was, though none of the newspaper stories mention this fact. Of course if he had been white his whiteness would have been plastered all over the media. We only know he was black because there is a photograph of him in this Star-Ledger story and also at this Italian news site, with the caption: “Terence Tyler, il killer del Supermarket.”
Early-morning supermarket shooting: Ex-Marine kills 2 co-workers, then himself in Old Bridge
OLD BRIDGE—Three years ago, when he was a Marine, Terence Tyler tweeted what would become an ominous warning for the future.
“I c y (people) go on violent killin sprees … I reallly do,” he wrote in a Twitter post dated Nov. 12, 2009.
Friday, he really did go on a violent killing spree, authorities said.
Dressed in desert camouflage clothing and carrying two weapons, including one similar to an AK-47 assault rifle, Tyler returned from his break at the Old Bridge Pathmark on Route 9, walked in and started firing at fellow employees working the graveyard shift, prosecutors said.
Then he walked through the aisles, firing at will and killing two of his coworkers while 11 others ran for cover, prosecutors said.
After firing 16 rounds from the assault rifle, Tyler pulled out a .45-caliber pistol and shot himself to death, prosecutors said.
The shooting took place at 3:50 a.m. while the workers were restocking shelves for store’s 6 a.m. opening.
Tyler, 23, a Marine who was discharged two years ago with a notation that he suffered from “major depression,” family members said, had worked at the supermarket only 11 days.
Dead in the rampage were two coworkers from Old Bridge, 18-year-old Cristina LoBrutto, who was to start classes at Brookdale Community College in Monmouth County next week and was working her first overnight shift, and Bryan Breen, a 24-year-old with an interest in writing and alternative music.
“I do not believe they were specifically targeted,” Middlesex County Prosecutor Bruce Kaplan said at a mid-morning press conference. “I believe everybody in the store was a target.”
Tyler had left the store around 3:30 a.m. on break and returned 20 minutes later, Kaplan said.
Suddenly, New Jersey joined the list of recent workplace or random public shootings that has included gunfire during a “Batman” screening in Colorado, a Sikh temple in Wisconsin, a school in Maryland and, just last week, outside the Empire State Building.
Old Bridge, Sayreville and Perth Amboy police and the Middlesex County SWAT team entered the store and found two windows blown out in the front of the supermarket and the three bodies and multiple magazines inside, Kaplan said.
“There were no shots that were fired by police, as the incident was over when the shooter shot himself,” he said.
The motive remains under investigation and authorities knew of no argument that led up to the shooting, Kaplan said.
For Tyler, it was a violent end to a life that was quiet in public and occasionally angry online.
During his time in the Marines in California, he sent more than 2,000 tweets.
On the same day, he wrote his ominous “killin spree” tweet, he sent another that said, “Grrrr I’m gnna lose my mind pretty soon … “
” … is it normal to want to kill ALL of ur coworkers? Maybe but I’m actually in a position where I can,” he tweeted on June 1, 2009, adding the acronym “smh,” which means “shaking my head” in internet jargon.
He also was perplexed by a shooting spree in Florida, tweeting on Nov. 6, 2009. “Y evryone shooting ish up? Anotha one in orlando,2dead,8wounded and the shooter is still at large.”
Tyler, who grew up in Brooklyn, joined the Marines in March 2008, the year after his mother died from cancer, said Capt. Kendra Motz, a Marine spokeswoman. He never saw combat or traveled overseas, she said.
His specialty classification was “0311—Rifleman”—or the general infantry, Motz said.
He was discharged on Feb. 27, 2010, and moved three months ago to Old Bridge, where he was living at the sprawling London Terrace apartment complex—a short walk from Pathmark—with his sister.
“He was a very quiet person—he kept to himself, he never left his house,” said neighbor Peter Perry. “You just never know who’s your next-door neighbor.”
Perry was amazed by the amount of firepower Tyler carried.
“That is very insane—a guy was hiding an AK-47 next door,” he said.
LoBrutto, a June graduate of Old Bridge High School, was a bright student who played the horn in the music department. A friend, Caroline Anders, described her as “a lovely girl.”
“A heart of gold, always with a smile on her face and just beginning her life,” she said, before repeating, “just beginning her life.”
June Launay lives next door to the Breen family in the Laurence Harbor section of town and her son graduated from Old Bridge High with Bryan in 2006.
“He was a really nice kid,” she said, fighting back tears. “He’s always been polite. He’s always been friendly and outgoing. He’s just a normal kid. He wasn’t a kid you ever worried about. We’re all shaken up over here.”
Lucy Sullivan, a co-worker, said Breen was a “good guy” who always greeted her with “a great big bear hug.”
“He had a special relationship with everyone,” she said. “He connected with the younger workers and the older workers.”
Sullivan said she was not working at the time, but those who were said Breen “was running when the shots started coming. The night manager told everyone to run and they scattered.”
Miranda Miranda, 19, was scheduled to work the morning shift at Pathmark on Friday. But after she got another job, LoBrutto took her shift.
“What keeps coming into my mind is that it could have been me,” Miranda said.
She said she knew both victims and had met the shooter, who only began working at the supermarket earlier this month.
“The way he looked at me, that gave me a very bad feeling,” Miranda said. “He gave me an uneasy vibe.”
Ellen Pidoto has worked at the Pathmark for 19 years, but said she only knew Tyler only in passing because he had just started working there.
Pidoto’s son, Michael, is a supervisor at the store but ended his shift at 8 p.m., while her daughter finished up at 10 p.m.
Pidoto said she knew the two victims well.
She said LoBrutto was “very sweet,” adding the young woman was set to start training for customer service in the front of the store.
Breen, she said, had worked the overnight shift for several years because he made more money that way.
Pidoto said the store employees are usually a tightknit group, and the shooting has had a profound impact.
“We’re like a family there,” she said from her Old Bridge home. “When you know these kids, they come in when they’re 16 and you go through their proms and their graduations with them. I don’t know what to say.
“I don’t know what we’re going to do. A lot of us are afraid to go back to work.”
Dragan Jovanovic, general manager of the Staples store next to Pathmark, couldn’t get into the parking lot when he arrived about 7 a.m. and went into the nearby McDonald’s. There, he found a shaken Pathmark employee who described the beginning of the rampage and how he escaped the shooter.
The employee told Jovanovic the gunman threw a shopping cart through a front store window, then started shooting.
“He heard a ‘loud bang,’ then he ran out the back door,” Jovanovic said the employee told him. “He knew all the employees, he knew the shooter, he knew all the people that got killed.”
Last night, more than 500 mourners gathered for a candlelight vigil outside Old Bridge High School for the two victims.
The mourners huddled near a display of more than 100 candles and dozens of bouquets of flowers, gazing at the photo collages of LoBrutto. Others hugged each other.
“As parents we are concerned about what is happening in this country,” said a woman whose attended school with LoBrutto since middle school and graduated with her in June. “Too often now when people get angry, they take it out” on people in a violent way. “We raised our kids the right way.”
The parent, who did not want to be identified, carried a 2008 photo depicting members of the high school band who had won a national championship—with her son and LoBrutto among them, smiling broadly. “They are like family,” she said of the band members “They are like siblings.”