January 26

Police search for motive in mall shootings

The gunman who killed two people and himself had no previous run-ins with law enforcement.

By Ben Nuckols
The Associated Press

(Continued from page 1)

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This photo released by the Howard County Police shows shooting suspect Darion Marcus Aguilar, 19, of College Park, Md.

The Associated Press

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The home of Darion Marcus Aguilar of College Park, Md., is seen Sunday. Police say Aguilar carried out Saturday’s attack with a shotgun at a skateboard shop at the Mall of Columbia before killing himself. Howard County Police Chief William McMahon said investigators are trying to determine whether Aguilar knew either of the victims and whether he had a criminal record. They offered no motive for the shooting.

The Associated Press

Residents described the neighborhood as a mix of owners and renters, including some University of Maryland students. But university spokeswoman Katie Lawson said neither the victims nor the gunman attended the school.

A man who answered the phone at Johnson’s residence in Mount Airy, northwest of Baltimore, said the family had no comment. The victim’s aunt told a local television station that she did not believe her nephew knew Aguilar.

Sydney Petty, in a statement to WBAL-TV, said she did not believe her nephew had a relationship with Benlolo.

“Tyler didn’t have anything beyond a working relationship with this girl, and he would have mentioned it if he did, and we’re just as confused as anybody,” Petty said.

She said her nephew also worked at a drug rehabilitation center in Mount Airy, for which she served on the board.

Five other people were hurt in the attack, but only one was hit by gunfire – a woman who was in the food court downstairs from the store and was hit in the foot. All were released from hospitals hours later.

The mall was to reopen Monday afternoon.

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 giving birth to her son.

“She was all excited because she was the manager there,” 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?” he said. “You go to work and make a dollar and you got some idiot coming in and blowing people away.”

Associated Press writers Jessica Gresko and Martin Di Caro in Washington, Eric Tucker in Columbia, Md., and Kasey Jones in Baltimore contributed to this report.

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