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Gunman kills two co-workers at New Jersey supermarket

OLD BRIDGE, NEW JERSEY (BNO NEWS) -- A supermarket employee opened fire at his colleagues in New Jersey on early Friday morning, killing two people before turning the gun on himself, officials said. The motive was not immediately known but the gunman had previously hinted at wanting to kill people.

The attacker, identified as 23-year-old Terrence Tyler of Brooklyn, New York, opened fire at a Pathmark supermarket in Old Bridge, a township in Middlesex County, at around 4 a.m. local time on Friday. It happened as fifteen employees were stocking shelves before the store was due to open at 6 a.m.

Middlesex County Prosecutor Bruce Kaplan said during a press conference that Tyler had left the supermarket at around 3:30 a.m. local time before returning in camouflage clothing and armed with an AK-47 and handgun about 30 minutes later. He fired at least 16 shots at his co-workers, killing two people before fatally shooting himself.

The victims, both graduates of Old Bridge High School, were identified as 18-year-old Cristina LoBrutto, who was working a friend's shift, and 24-year-old Bryan Breen. They were both standing in an aisle when Tyler opened fire. The other employees in the building were able to escape safely.

The motive of the attack remained unclear on Saturday, but Kaplan said investigators do not believe LoBrutto and Breen were specifically targeted. Tyler had hinted at wanting to kill co-workers in messages about three years ago on the social networking website Twitter, according to reports.

"Is it normal to want to kill ALL of ur (your) coworkers? Maybe but I'm actually in a position where I can," Tyler wrote in a tweet in June 2009. He was not referring to employees at the Pathmark supermarket in Old Bridge because Tyler was hired there only two weeks before Friday's shooting.

About four months later, in October 2009, Tyler posted another series of tweets in which he again indicated he wanted to kill people. "I'm starting to see why pip (people) go on killin(g) sprees.... Because these mothafuckers are reeeeeeally pushin(g) my 'kill everyone I see button,'" the tweet said, adding: "I no (know) murdering sum1 (someone) cuz (because) u hate them is wrong but being here makes me think about that.... really does."

A message several days earlier asked whether he was crazy or everyone else is. "I'm parinoid (sic)... it's good and bad cuz (because) nobody will eva (ever) catch me slipping but the constant state of alertness is drivin(g) me insane," he said, adding a month later: "I c (see) y (why) [people] go on violent killin(g) sprees ... I really do."

A brief statement from The Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Company (A&P), which purchased Pathmark in 2007, said the company was "terribly saddened" by Friday's shooting. "We express our deepest sympathies to the families of the victims and our appreciation to local law enforcement," the statement said. "Our main concern is the safety of our associates and customers. We continue to work with local authorities during the investigation."

Authorities said Tyler, who neighbors said was engaged, previously served in the military as a Marine but had not been deployed overseas.

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