Crime

Jan 27, 2014 11:08 AM by David Randall

Three dead in mall shooting

The gunman who shot and killed two skate store employees at a Maryland shopping mall had no criminal record, police said Sunday.

Officials said Darion Marcus Aguilar, 19, of College Park, Md., a manager at a Dunkin' Donuts, was behind Saturday's attack that claimed the lives of two employees at a Zumiez store. The Mall in Columbia in suburban Baltimore was set for a somber reopening Monday.

Authorities believe Aguilar, armed with a Mossberg shotgun and "a large amount of ammunition" opened fire in the shopping mall in Columbia, Md., before killing himself, Howard County Police Chief Bill McMahon said Sunday.

The victims have been identified by police as Brianna Benlolo, 21, of College Park, Md., and Tyler Johnson, 25, of Mount Airy, Md. Aguilar, whose body was found nearby, had a shotgun and ammunition on him, according to McMahon.

Although one of the victims lives in the same town as the suspect, police said there was no immediate connection between the two. At a Sunday evening news conference, McMahon said police have interviewed family and associates but have found "no known relationship between the victims and our shooter."

"We want to find out why this occurred," McMahon said at an earlier news briefing. "We still have some unanswered questions."

He added that authorities are reviewing evidence seized from the shooter's home - including a journal in which Aguilar "does express some general unhappiness with his life."

McMahon said that surveillance video showed Aguilar was dropped off by a cab at the Mall in Columbia on Saturday. His mother reported him missing a few hours before the shooting, according to Howard County Police.

A Prince George's officer went to Aguilar's house in College Park to speak with his mother around 5 p.m. Saturday and saw the gunman's journal. The portion of the journal the officer read "made him concerned for the missing person's safety," according to a statement from the Prince George's County police.

The unidentified investigator then began tracking Aguilar's cell phone - and soon discovered it was pinging at the Mall in Columbia.

McMahon said Aguilar made "very limited movement" during the hour he spent in the mall before he fired between 6-8 shots.

"We're still working to determining exactly where all those shots went," McMahon said. One person suffered a gunshot wound to the foot, and four others were injured during the chaos. All five were treated and released from the hospital Saturday night, according to Howard County General Hospital.

The Associated Press reported that Aguilar's home is a two-story house in a "middle-income neighborhood," where some University of Maryland students live just two miles away from the campus.

Aguilar was accepted to Montgomery College in February 2013 but never registered for classes and never attended, said Elizabeth S. Homan, director of communications at the community college in the suburbs of Washington D.C.

When he applied, Aguilar indicated he would graduate from James Hubert Blake High School in Rockville Md., Homan told NBC News. Dana Tofig, a spokeswoman for Montgomery County Public Schools, confirmed that Aguilar attended high school at Blake.

Tydryn Scott, 19, was Aguilar's lab partner at Blake and told the AP he was tall, skinny and quiet. Another student described him as an avid skateboarder.

Howard County Executive Ken Ulman said at the Sunday evening news briefing that the 200-store mall will have two memorial sites - one outside the entrance and another inside the shopping complex - when it reopens at 1 p.m. on Monday.

 

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