Yesterday, a Pathmark employee, armed with two guns and dressed in fatigues, fired an AK-47 into his Old Bridge, NJ store, killing two co-workers and firing at least 16 rounds before killing himself. And it turns out the gunman, Terrence Tyler, is an ex-Marine who wrote on Twitter in 2009, "I c y (people) go on violent killin sprees ... I reallly do."
Tyler, who was from Brooklyn and attended Medgar Evers College for a semester before joining the Marines, was an overnight clerk at the Pathmark store for two weeks. According to the Daily News, he was done with work at 3:30 a.m., "He drove off and returned to the store shortly afterward with a handgun and an assault rifle, Middlesex County Prosecutor Bruce Kaplan said." Tyler then fired at the store (and an employee outside) and aiming at numerous employees in an aisle—Christina LoBrutto, 18, and Bryan Breen, 24— he "drew his handgun and killed himself." A law enforcement official told the NY Times the scene at the shopping mall was "a complete mess."
The Marines say that 23-year-old Tyler joined in 2008, a year after his mother died from cancer. Marine spokeswoman Capt. Kendra Motz said that Tyler "never saw combat or traveled overseas... His specialty classification was '0311 — Rifleman' — or the general infantry, Motz said." The Star-Ledger also reports, "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."
His cousin told NBC New York that Tyler's mother's death hit him hard, "His mother was his best friend. He lost his father when he was younger. So he had no parents," adding that when Tyler was in California, training as a rifleman, he would call her, "He was like, 'I'm learning to shoot guns.' He was a rifleman, so he knew everything about gun." His uncle Christopher Dyson, who also works at Pathmark and got him the job, "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.'"
Tyler's sister Fatima Dyson spoke to the Star-Ledger and was upset, "You hear about these things all the time.. You just never think it’s going to happen to you. You especially never think you’ll be on this side of it." She added, "I don’t know what to say. All I can say is how sorry I am for those other families. I know that’s not going to bring their people back, or make anything better, but I would love to tell them all personally how sorry I am. We had no idea what was going on with him."
LoBrutto had graduated from Old Bridge High School in June, while Breen graduated in 2006. Many from the community gathered at the store to mourn the pair. A classmate of Breen's said, "I never saw him in a bad mood. He never had anything bad to say."