This morning about 11 a.m. a gunman opened fire on the Maryland mall’s second level, taking lives of two employees of Zumiez, a clothing store for skateboarders and snowboarders. A few minutes later later, when officers arrived at the place, they found the killer dead of an apparent shot.
Local police officers insist that the gunman’s body was laden with ammunition and the gun he had used was on the floor. Which is more, they added that they found in the killer’s bag, which was found in the store, two “crude devices that seemed to be an attempt to use fireworks to make explosives.”
Lauryn Stapleton, one of the mall’s employees, told reporters that she was at a McDonald’s on the first level when she heard loud noises and saw three people drop to the floor near an escalator.
“I was standing there when it happened,” said Stapleton. “I didn’t know what to do.” What immediately came to mind, she said, was this: “I’m going to die!”
The killed people were soon identified as Brianna Benlolo, 21, of College Park and Tyler Johnson, 25, who had lived in Ellicott City but recently moved to Mount Airy.
George Sliker, Johnson’s uncle, revealed to reporters that he and the man’s other relatives tried to call him after they heard of the shooting.
“The odds kept narrowing,” said Sliker, 67. “They couldn’t get anybody to tell them anything. It was horrible for them.” He described his relative as polite and upbeat — “a likable kid” — and said he could not fathom why anyone would want to shoot him.
“It’s very hard on the family, of course,” Sliker said. “He just seemed like an ordinary kid who was at the wrong place at the wrong time.”
“He was a very sensitive kid with a huge heart who was there to help anybody in need, always there with a smile or a joke, loving and caring, and one of the best friends anybody could ask for,” he added.
A witness who saw the shooter told the police that the gunman was between 18 and 21 years old and was wearing khaki pants and a white shirt.
She went on, adding that a young girl who was with her in the first-floor food court below Zumiez shrieked in fear, prompting the man to look down at them, writes The Wasington Post.
“He looked straight at me,” Robinson said, and he reloaded the shotgun and aimed it at her. “He pointed the gun at me and looked at my eyes,” she said.
Meanwhile, the local police managed to find out that the man who opened fire at the mall was Darion Marcus Aguilar, a 19-year-old, who had recently graduated from Montgomery County’s James Hubert Blake High School.
“We have not been able to verify any type of relationship between him and our victims,” Howard County Police Chief Bill McMahon said, adding that investigators are currently looking for connections and a motive of the massacre. Aguilar lived near victim, Benlolo, but McMahon didn’t know whether they knew each other.