Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Fatal Md. Mall Shooting Baffles Investigators

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Fatal Md. Mall Shooting Baffles Investigators

Article excerpt

COLUMBIA, Md. -- The gunman who killed two people at a Maryland mall was a teenage skateboarding enthusiast who had no criminal record before he arrived there with a shotgun, plenty of ammunition and a backpack filled with crude homemade explosives, authorities said Sunday.

Darion Marcus Aguilar, 19, took a taxi to the Mall in Columbia in suburban Baltimore on Saturday morning and entered the building near Zumiez, a shop that sells skateboarding gear. He went downstairs to a food court directly below the store, then returned less than an hour later, dumped the backpack in a dressing room and started shooting, police said.

Shoppers fled in a panic or barricaded themselves behind closed doors. When police arrived, they found three people dead -- two store employees and Mr. Aguilar, who had killed himself, authorities said.

The shooting baffled investigators and acquaintances of Mr. Aguilar, a quiet teenager who graduated from high school less than a year ago and had no previous run-ins with law enforcement. Police spent Sunday trying to piece together his motive, but it remained elusive.

Mr. Aguilar, who had concealed the shotgun in a bag, fired six to nine times. One victim, Brianna Benlolo, a 21-year-old single mother, lived half a mile away from Mr. Aguilar in the same College Park neighborhood about 20 miles south of the mall, but police said they were still trying to determine what, if any, relationship they had.

Although they lived close to the University of Maryland, the state's largest college, neither was a student there. Mr. Aguilar was accepted last February to Montgomery College, a community college in the Washington, D.C., suburbs, but school spokesman Marcus Rosano said he never registered or attended.

The other employee, Tyler Johnson, did not know Mr. Aguilar and did not socialize with Ms. …

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