3 dead after mall shooting

Gunman dead, five others injured in shooting at a Maryland mall
Associated Press
Jan 26, 2014

A man carrying a shotgun opened fire at a busy shopping mall in suburban Baltimore on Saturday, killing two employees of a skate shop and then himself as panicked shoppers ran for cover, police said. Five others were injured.

Police were still trying to determine the identity and motive of the gunman who killed a man and a woman, both in their 20s, at a skate shop called Zumiez on the upper level of the Mall in Columbia.

Witnesses described hearing gunshots and screams as shoppers ducked into nearby stores and hid behind locked doors. Many found cover in stockrooms and barricaded themselves until the arrival of police, who searched store to store. By late afternoon, the mall had been cleared of shoppers and employees.

Howard County Police Chief William J. McMahon said at a news conference that authorities had difficulty identifying the gunman because of concerns he might be carrying explosives and were proceeding with an "abundance of caution."

"We do not know yet what caused the shooting incident," he said. "We do not have a motive."

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. Asked if the gunman shot himself, the chief answered: "That is certainly what it appears to be at this point."

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."

Comments

BabyMomma

Stop reporting them

Pterocarya frax...

Brilliant idea...that will make it all go away!

BabyMomma

I'm saying, they keep making these d-bags famous when they plaster their face all over the t.v.. If you weren't a d-bag, you would have picked up on that.

From the Grave

Some people just want to be famous, more than anything. I agree~no pictures or names.

mikeylikesit

sparkling wiggles..

thinkagain

I see the racist bigot is trolling again.

mikeylikesit

your fairy tale ghost wont like you judging me.. you better pray! if I want lip from you I will scrape it off my zipper.

santown419

Once again mikeysucksit your family is at it again so tired of you sparkling wiggles.

mikeylikesit

they're all our family since our tax dollars pay their way.. its your momma who sucks it for jukebox nickels..

Simple Enough II

The problem is the media will not follow up with the investigations conclusion, like if he was a former employee, jilted employee with a crush on the girl/manager & maybe jealous of the male employee, person whose psychotropic meds pushed him the wrong way or all of the above.

deertracker

"What difference does it make?"

Simple Enough II

Can make all the difference the next time for someone. Maybe he made comments previous to his actions, maybe there were other warning signs, but we wont know that if that information isn't made available.

The Big Dog's back

With your theory most of the right wingnuts on here would be jailed. Hey, maybe that's not such a bad thing.

Dr. Information

Wow deer, you sound exactly like Hillary Clinton.

2cents

Like the stuck in the ice research ship. You never heard when it was out of the ice!

donutshopguy

Another reason to shop online.

MBR

Impossible. MD has some of the strictest gun laws.

The Big Dog's back

I thought Chicago did.

ladydye_5

Hmmm.. a 12-guage just like Joe Biden told us to. Wonder if he regrets that comment yet?

The Big Dog's back

Nice to see you are against guns dye.

ladydye_5

I am not. Sorry dog. My house is full of them.

2cents

Shhhhhhhhhh!!

ladydye_5

It is...I have numerous NERF guns, a couple paintball, a couple of airsoft, I think my daughter also has a Velcro dart gun. OH, I almost forgot 2 staple guns.

2cents

: )

Erie County Resident

I agree as MD has some of the strictest gun laws right behind a few other liberal areas. The statement of "It doesn't matter" also comes from Hillary the other side of the aisle.
To bad piddle puppies backside can't comprehend or post any thoughts other than liberal propoganda from his masters regime.

I've got my thoughts on this incident but am withholding until the facts are out. Enough speculation is going on.

rippedhippy1

Another crazy white kid. With a gun.