A supermarket employee armed with an AK-47 and an automatic pistol walked into a New Jersey supermarket Friday morning and opened fire, shooting and killing two employees before killing himself, according to news reports.
One of the victims was reportedly an 18-year-old woman who had only recently started working at the supermarket, according to NJ.com.
The news outlet also reported that it had learned that the gunman was a disgruntled employee and an ex-Marine who had also been a recent hire at the store, and had been working there for only about two weeks.
PHOTOS: New Jersey supermarket shooting
It was not immediately clear what prompted the violence at the Pathmark Supermarket in Old Bridge, N.J., about 25 miles outside New York City.
Old Bridge Mayor Owen Henry told NJ.com that the shooting took place about 4 a.m., and confirmed that three people were killed, including the gunman. Neither the gunman nor the victims were being identified at this time.
Several store windows were also shot out during the incident, Owen told NJ.com.
Residents who live nearby were shocked by the early morning outburst of violence.
"This is sickening," said Sarah Reese, 28, who lives in an apartment complex next to the supermarket.
Said the mayor about the call informing him of the shooting: "This is the worst phone call a mayor can receive. ... You can prepare for these things but you can't prevent them."
The store was closed at the time of the shooting, and had been scheduled to open at 6 a.m., according to the Associated Press. The market and its parking lot remained closed Friday as authorities conducted their investigation into the slayings.
The incident is likely to reignite debate over guns – especially assault rifles -- and gun violence in America. It occurs just weeks after the Aurora, Colo., movie theater shooting and the Sikh temple shooting in Wisconsin.
Closer to home, Friday morning’s shooting took place just one week after gunfire erupted on tourist-clogged streets outside the Empire State Building in Manhattan. In that case, authorities say an ex-employee returned to the workplace and killed a former colleague, and was then killed in a hail of police gunfire that also struck several innocent bystanders.
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