Saturday morning The Mall in Columbia, nestled between Baltimore and Washington, D.C., was the scene of a mass shooting.
Police say that Darion Marcus Aguilar, a 19-year-old from College Park, Md., took a taxi from College Park to Columbia, and killed two employees of the skater apparel store, Zumiez, before killing himself. In the midst of the mayhem, 5 other people were injured. One from getting shot in the foot by a ricocheted bullet, the others sustained injuries from fleeing the mall.
Aguilar, 19, shot 25-year-old Tyler Johnson and 21-year-old Brianna Benlolo with a 12-gauge shotgun on the upper level of Columbia Mall, reports the Associated Press. Benlolo was a mother to a two-year-old child, and was from College Park, the same city as Aguilar.
Authorities still have no motive as to why Aguilar shot the two victims.
“I know there’s a lot of interest in the motive for this, and I have as much interest in that as anybody,” Howard County Police Chief Bill McMahon told reporters Sunday.
He said there was still no known relationship between the shooter and his victims, though he did not rule out the possibility that there was one. Aguilar purchased the 12-gauge shotgun, made by Mossberg, in December, the chief said.
McMahon also added that police served a search and seizure warrant at the shooter’s house and retrieved documents, computers and other potential evidence, including a journal. McMahon stated that the journal expressed “some general unhappiness with his life, but I really don’t have any other information about that now”.
As a long-time Columbia resident, I received about 10 texts, Facebook posts, and tweets asking me where I was that morning. I couldn’t understand why until a friend told me to turn on the news. That morning, I told a friend that I planned on taking some items back to Nordstrom and I promised my son we would head to the food court for Chipotle. At around 10:30 a.m, we got into the car and headed to the mall which is less than 2 blocks away. Then I changed my mind, and headed to my sister’s house. By the time I reached her house, that’s when my phone started to get inundated with calls and texts.
As of today, The Mall in Columbia is still closed. There are reports that it will open later on at 1 p.m, but I can definitely say, it’ll never be the same. Ironically our town’s motto is “Choose Civility”.