Police identify gunman in Maryland mall shooting, motive unclear

Howard County Executive Ken Ulman (L) and Howard County Police Chief Bill McMahon speak to reporters after a shooting in Columbia, Maryland on Jan. 25, 2014. Credit: Reuters
Howard County Executive Ken Ulman (L) and Howard County Police Chief Bill McMahon speak to reporters after a shooting in Columbia, Maryland on Jan. 25, 2014. Credit: Reuters

The gunman who shot and killed two people at a Maryland mall was a 19-year-old man who lived with his mother in the city of College Park and arrived at the shopping center in a taxi about an hour before opening fire, police said on Sunday.

But a day after Saturday’s shootings, police could provide no immediate insight into why Darion Marcus Aguilar killed a young man and a young woman at the mall in Columbia, Maryland, about 20 miles west of Baltimore, before apparently killing himself.

Police have yet to find any ties between Aguilar and the two people he killed, employees at a skate shop at the mall, Howard County Police Chief Bill McMahon told a Sunday morning news conference.

“We do know that one of our victims also lived in College Park,” McMahon said. “We don’t know if there’s any connection there or whether that’s merely coincidental.”

Aguilar fired six to eight shots from a 12-gauge shotgun, killing Brianna Benlolo, 21, of College Park, and Tyler Johnson, 25, of Mount Airy, Maryland, police said.

Both were employees of Zumiez, the skate shop where the shooting took place. A third person on a lower floor of the mall suffered a gunshot wound to the foot, and four more people were hurt in the ensuing chaos.

The shooting happened around 11:15 a.m. EST on the mall’s upper level just above the food court. The mall, which has more than 200 stores, was crowded with weekend shoppers; many took shelter after hearing the shots or seeing people fleeing.

Police, who were in the area on another case, responded to the emergency calls within two minutes and found all three bodies either in the store or just outside it.

Aguilar had a backpack filled with crude explosives, and authorities were initially concerned he had booby-trapped himself, McMahon said.

“These were homemade devices consisting of flash powder and household items, so they’re not very sophisticated,” McMahon said.

Overnight, police searched Aguilar’s home where they found more ammunition, and seized computers and documents. Police believe that Aguilar legally bought the shotgun himself last month in nearby Montgomery County.

McMahon said he could not yet give further information about Aguilar, including whether he worked or was a student.

College Park is home to the University of Maryland’s flagship campus.

The attack in Columbia followed a shooting at a New Jersey mall in November in which a gunman fired at least six shots without hitting anyone, sparking a mass evacuation of the complex, then killed himself.

There has been a spate of shootings in recent days at U.S. schools and universities. A student was shot dead on Friday at South Carolina State University in Orangeburg, and on Tuesday a teacher’s assistant was shot and killed at Purdue University in Indiana. Suspects have been charged with crimes in both cases.

 



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

Woman dies when run over by bus at…

A woman at the Burning Man arts and culture festival in the Nevada desert died on Thursday when she was run over by a bus carrying participants.

National

Texas parents sue day care center for duct…

By Marice RichterDALLAS (Reuters) - A Texas couple has filed a lawsuit against the owners of a Fort Worth-area day care center seeking $1 million…

National

Santa Fe city council votes to decriminalize marijuana

By Joseph KolbALBUQUERQUE N.M. (Reuters) - Santa Fe on Wednesday became the latest U.S. city to decriminalize small amounts of marijuana, with lawmakers in the…

International

Egypt queries Mursi over documents "leaked" to Al…

CAIRO (Reuters) - Egypt is investigating jailed ex-president Mohamed Mursi in connection with documents that judicial investigators say were leaked to the Qatar-based Al Jazeera…

Going Out

'Friends' coffeehouse Central Perk coming to NYC —…

"Friends" is coming back for a one-off special: "The One with the Free Coffee." Warner Bros. is bringing a pop-up replica of Central Perk, the…

Movies

Interview: 'As Above, So Below' directors: 5 ways…

The fraternal directors of the found footage horror "As Above, So Below" dish on the best ways to frighten the bejesus out of audiences.

Movies

Criterion's new Jacques Demy box mixes the light…

Jacques Demy, the most effervescent of French New Wave filmmakers, gets a Criterion box all to himself, with classics like "The Umbrellas of Cherbourg."

Entertainment

Comedian Joan Rivers, 81, rushed to New York…

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Acerbic comedian and fashion critic Joan Rivers was rushed to Mount Sinai Hospital in New York on Thursday after she reportedly…

NFL

3 things we learned in the Giants preseason…

The final score didn’t matter — a 16-13 win by the Giants — but it would’ve been nice to finally see Big Blue’s new-look offense get on track.

NFL

NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks, Broncos, Patriots, 49ers start…

NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks, Broncos, Patriots start at top

U.S. Soccer

5 facts about new England captain Wayne Rooney

Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney was named as the new England captain by coach Roy Hodgson on Thursday.

NFL

Jets vs. Eagles: 3 things to watch

A win on Thursday night at the Eagles would give the Jets a 3-1 record and just their second winning preseason under head coach Rex Ryan.

Style

Trend: White hot on the 2014 Emmy's red…

White was one of the big trends on the Emmy's red carpet.

Food

Recipe: Samuel Adams beer-marinated grilled shrimp

Summer calls for two things: a cold beer and light food. Sam Adams' Latitude 48 IPA fairly bursts with citrus notes, making it an ideal marinade…

Wellbeing

4 healthy ingredient swaps to make your meals…

When it comes to eating well, everyone knows they could be doing better. But cooking in an apartment on a busy schedule is a recipe…

Wellbeing

Heart trumps brain when it comes to movies…

When you need a good cry, do you reach for the movie that’s “based on a true story”? Science says you’re giving your brain far…