Columbia Mall Shooter's Journal Expressed Unhappiness




More than 24 hours after a triple fatal shooting at the Columbia Mall, police said they are still trying to determine a motive for the killings as the community tries to heal.

The gunman responsible for Saturday's shooting was identified Sunday morning as Darion Marcus Aguilar, 19, of College Park. Howard County police said Aguilar walked into the mall with a 12-gauge shotgun at about 10:15 a.m. Saturday, and about an hour later, he shot and killed two people at Zumiez, a skateboard shop on the mall's upper level.



The victims were identified as Brianna Benlolo, 21, of College Park, and Tyler Johnson, 25, of Mount Airy. Both were employees of the store.

Police said it took them hours to identify Aguilar's body because he was carrying ammunition and a backpack containing homemade explosives, which were safely disabled.

During a news conference Sunday evening, Howard County Police Chief Bill McMahon said while investigators have interviewed the families, friends and associates of both victims and the shooter, they're still not sure what the motive was behind the killings.

McMahon said they "have more work to do," but so far, they know of no relationship between Aguilar and the victims. He said talk of any romantic relationship has only been speculation that's upsetting the families of the victims.

A source familiar with the investigation told the 11 News I-Team that Aguilar appeared to be a "lone wolf wannabe."

McMahon said Aguilar had no criminal record as an adult and that, to their knowledge, the teen bought the weapon he used to kill the victims with legally in Montgomery County in December.

McMahon said police searched the shooter's mother's house and seized computers, ammunition, documents and other items, including a journal in which Aguilar expressed a "general unhappiness" with his life.

A Montgomery County school spokeswoman said Aguilar graduated from Blake High School in Silver Spring last year. A person who attended the school told the Associated Press he was an avid skateboarder and described him as a tall, skinny, quiet kid who hung out with other skaters. A former classmate described him as quiet but happy.

McMahon said surveillance video from the mall showed Aguilar was in a confined area of the mall for the hour he was there leading up to the shooting, but he didn't release more information about what the shooter did in that time.



Five other people were injured during the shooting, including a victim who police said was shot in the foot. Those victims were taken to Howard County General Hospital and were released Saturday night. Officials said four of the injuries were the result of medical conditions and minor falls.

Meanwhile, the Mall in Columbia announced it will reopen at 1 p.m. Monday.

Howard County Executive Ken Ulman said there will be two memorial sites that the public can visit when the mall reopens. One will be outside the entrance by the fountain near Starbucks and Sears. The other will be inside the mall at center court near Lord & Taylor.

"We may never quite be back to 100 percent normal, but we are a resilient community," Ulman said.

Officials said there will be a strong police presence at the mall when it reopens and that grief counselors will be on hand. - wbaltv


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