Police identify gunman in Maryland mall shooting - New York News

ADVERTISEMENT
Bookmark and Share

Police identify gunman in Maryland mall shooting

Posted: Updated:
Darion Marcus Aguilar Darion Marcus Aguilar
Brianna Benlolo (Photo: Facebook) Brianna Benlolo (Photo: Facebook)
Tyler Johnson (Facebook) Tyler Johnson (Facebook)
COLUMBIA, Md. (AP) - The gunman who shot two people to death at a Maryland mall had no criminal record, police said Sunday, but little else is known about the 19 year old and whether he knew his victims before he killed them.
  
Darion Marcus Aguilar of College Park, Md., carried out Saturday's attack with a 12-gauge shotgun at a skateboard shop at the Mall in Columbia in suburban Baltimore before killing himself, police said.
  
Police say they have found the Maryland mall gunman's journal and it expresses some general unhappiness, but they say they still are not sure of a motive in the shooting.
  
Howard County Police Chief William McMahon said Sunday night that they had taken the journal from Darion Marcus Aguliar's house, but he did not give any specifics about what it contained.
  
He says they are still interviewing friends and family of the gunman and the victims, but authorities are not sure yet whether they knew each other.

Police identified the victims as 21-year-old Brianna Benlolo of College Park, Md., and 25-year-old Tyler Johnson of Mount Airy, Md. McMahon offered no motive for the shooting.
  
"There are a lot of unanswered questions," McMahon said at a news conference. Aguilar purchased the shotgun legally last month at a store in neighboring Montgomery County.
  
It took hours to identify the gunman since he was carrying ammunition and a backpack containing homemade explosives, McMahon said. Officers searched Aguilar's home Saturday night, recovering more ammunition, computers and documents, police said.
  
The home is a two-story wood-frame house in a middle-income neighborhood called Hollywood, just off U.S. Route 1 and near the Capital Beltway. No one answered the door Sunday morning at the house, which had a Christmas wreath on the front door, signs that read "Beware of Dog" and advertised an alarm system.
 
The Prince George's County Police Department says it received a missing persons report for the Maryland mall gunman about 2 1/2 hours after the shooting. Police said Sunday they received a missing persons report for Darion
Marcus Aguilar at about 1:40 p.m.

A Prince George's officer went to Aguilar's home in College Park to speak with his mother about 5 p.m. Saturday and saw Aguilar's journal. The portion the officer read made him concerned for Aguilar's safety.

The investigator began tracking Aguilar's phone and soon discovered it was pinging at the Mall in Columbia

Aguilar and his mother were renters at the home. Sirkka Singleton, who owns the property with her husband and lives a block away, said they use a property manager to find tenants and they have never met the Aguilars. She declined to say who the property manager was.
  
Residents described the neighborhood as a mix of owners and renters, including some University of Maryland students.
  
Katie Lawson, director of communications at University of Maryland, said campus police told her that Aguilar was not and never had been a student there. She said she had no information on the two victims.
  
Aguilar graduated in 2013 from James Hubert Blake High School in Silver Spring, said Dana Tofig, a Montgomery County schools spokesman.
  
A person who attended the high school with Aguilar told The Associated Press that he was an avid skateboarder.
  
Tydryn Scott, 19, said she was Aguilar's lab partner in science class and described him as tall, skinny and quiet. She said he was interested in skateboarding and hung out with other skaters.
  
She said she was stung by the news that he was the shooter.
  
"It was really hurtful, like, wow -- someone that I know, someone that I've been in the presence of more than short amounts of time. I've seen this guy in action before. Never upset, never sad, just quiet -- just chill," Scott said. "If any other emotion, he was happy, laughing."
  
Five other people were hurt in the attack and its aftermath, but only one was hit by gunfire. All were released from hospitals by Saturday evening, police said.
  
Howard County Police say that the victim shot in foot was upstairs near Zumiez, not downstairs as 1st reported. Gun shot downstairs struck wall, no victims. 

Police will have increased presence when mall reopens at 1pmMonday. 

At the time of the shooting, the mall was busy with weekend shoppers and employees.
  
"There were a lot of people very close to where this happened," Howard County Executive Ken Ulman said.
  
Police searched the mall with dogs overnight, and stores were to remain closed through Tuesday.
  
Benlolo's grandfather, John Feins, said in a telephone interview from Florida that his granddaughter had a 2-year-old son and that the job at Zumiez was her first since she went back to work after her son's birth.
 
 "She was all excited because she was the manager there," he said.
  
He described his daughter's family as a military family that had moved frequently and had been in Colorado before moving to Maryland about two years ago. He said his granddaughter was on good terms with her son's father, and they shared custody.
  
"I mean what can you say?" he said. "You go to work and make a dollar and you got some idiot coming in and blowing people away."



Follow FOX 5 and MyFoxDC on Twitter and Facebook as the latest information comes into the newsroom.


Someone called 911 at around 11:15 a.m. to report a shooting at the mall. Police responded to the scene within 2 minutes and found three people dead — including the apparent gunman near a gun and ammunition — either inside or outside the shop, which sells skateboards, clothing and accessories. McMahon said police were confident there was a single gunman.

Police identified the victims as 21-year-old Brianna Benlolo of College Park, Md., and 25-year-old Tyler Johnson of Ellicott City, Md. Both worked at Zumiez.

Benlolo's grandfather, John Feins, said in a telephone interview from Florida that his granddaughter had a 2-year-old son and that the job at Zumiez was her first since she went back to work after her son's birth.

"She was all excited because she was the manager there," he said.

He said he had spoken with his daughter, Brianna's mother, earlier in the day, but didn't know who the gunman was or whether the person knew his granddaughter.

"It's senseless. It's totally, totally senseless," he said.

He described his daughter's family as a military family that had moved frequently and had been in Colorado before moving to Maryland about two years ago. He said his granddaughter was on good terms with her son's father, and they shared custody.

"I mean what can you say? You go to work and make a dollar and you got some idiot coming in and blowing people away," he said.

Zumiez CEO Rick Brooks released a statement that the company is making counseling available for employees in the area.

"The Zumiez team is a tight knit community and all of our hearts go out to Brianna and Tyler's families," he wrote.

Howard County General Hospital said it had treated and released five patients. One patient had a gunshot wound, while at least three other patients sustained other injuries.

The mall is at the center of the town that's a suburb of both Baltimore and Washington, and it typically opens at 10 a.m. on Saturdays. It was busy with shoppers and employees when the shots rang out before noon.

Joan Harding of Elkridge, Md., was shopping with her husband, David, for a tiara for their granddaughter's 18th birthday. She said she heard something heavy falling, followed by gunshots and people running.

"My husband said, 'Get down!' and the girl that worked in the store said, 'Get in the back,'" Harding said. That is where they hid until police searched the mall and signaled it was safe to leave.

The mall was closed to the public as police looked in each store for people who might still be hiding, McMahon said. It will remain closed at least through the night.

McMahon said it wasn't clear whether the gunman and victims knew each other. He said officers did not fire any shots when they arrived at the scene. The police news release said it appears the gunman died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Tonya Broughton of Silver Spring, Md., was with a friend getting facials for a "girls' morning out," she said. "The only thing I heard was all the people running and screaming and saying 'There's a shooter! There's a shooter!'" she said.

Wearing a gel face mask, she and her friend hid in a Victoria's Secret store.

People were directed out of the mall and into a parking lot, where some boarded a bus and others walked toward their cars. Some people were seen crying. McMahon said detectives were interviewing witnesses as they emerged from the mall.

Laura McKindles of Columbia works at a kiosk in the mall. She said she heard between eight and 10 gunshots, followed by people running and screaming. She ran into the backroom of a perfume store and locked the door.

Allison Cohen, who works at the apparel store Lucky Brand Jeans, said she always felt safe at the mall.

"I truly never thought something like this would ever happen here," Cohen said. "It's really, really shocking."

___

Associated Press writers Jessica Gresko and Martin Di Caro in Washington contributed to this report.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Statement from Rick Brooks, Zumiez CEO:

"We are deeply saddened by the violence that has occurred this morning within our store in Maryland at The Mall in Columbia. Our hearts go out to the victims and their families.

As you have heard from the Howard County Police the two victims are Zumiez employees. They have been identified as Brianna Benlolo and Tyler Johnson.

We're making arrangements for counselling to be made available to Zumiez employees in the area.

As you can imagine, we are receiving numerous calls and are unable to respond to the flood of questions at this time. We're working with the Howard County police department and all information will come through them. We won't be giving interviews or comments. Thank you for understanding.

The Zumiez team is a tight knit community and all of our hearts go out to Brianna and Tyler's families."

Governor O’Malley released the following statement on the shooting at the Columbia Mall in Columbia, Md.:

“On behalf of the people of Maryland, I want to express my deepest condolences to the families of the victims and all those affected by this senseless act of violence. Protecting the public’s safety is our most solemn obligation.”

“We thank all of the first responders who are on the scene. I have been in close contact throughout the day with Col. Marcus Brown of the Maryland State Police -- personnel from the State Police, the Maryland Coordination and Analysis Center, and the Maryland Institute for Emergency Medical Services Systems responded immediately to support Howard County law enforcement officials. I’ve also spoken with County Executive Ken Ulman to offer any other support he needs, and to commend the quick work of the brave men and women of the Howard County Police and our first responders.”

  • Local NewsLocal NewsMore>>

  • 'Spider-man' slugs cop in Times Square

    'Spider-man' slugs cop in Times Square

    Sunday, July 27 2014 7:54 PM EDT2014-07-27 23:54:59 GMT
    New York City NewsNew York City News
    A man dressed as Spider-Man was arrested on charges he slugged a police officer who told him to stop harassing tourists in Times Square.
    A man dressed as Spider-Man was arrested on charges he slugged a police officer who told him to stop harassing tourists in Times Square.
  • Kayakers breach New York's JFK airport security

    Kayakers breach New York's JFK airport security

    Sunday, July 27 2014 3:46 PM EDT2014-07-27 19:46:29 GMT
    The tower at John F. Kennedy International AirportThe tower at John F. Kennedy International Airport
    Two kayakers have been cited for trespassing after breaching a Kennedy Airport security perimeter.
    Two kayakers have been cited for trespassing after breaching a security perimeter at New York's Kennedy Airport.
  • Woman gets 20-year prison term for fatal stabbing

    Woman gets 20-year prison term for fatal stabbing

    Sunday, July 27 2014 2:32 PM EDT2014-07-27 18:32:05 GMT
    A southern New Jersey woman who fatally stabbed a man last year during an argument in his home has been sentenced to 20 years in state prison.
    A southern New Jersey woman who fatally stabbed a man last year during an argument in his home has been sentenced to 20 years in state prison.

Powered by WorldNow
Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Ad Choices