Maryland Mall Shooter Revealed, Motive Still Unknown

Still no connection has been made between Darion Marcus Aguilar, 19, who police believe fatally shot Brianna Benlolo, 21, and Tyler Johnson, 25, at a shopping mall. 

Howard County Police

On Saturday morning, instead of heading off to Dunkin’ Donuts where he was supposed to open the store, Darion Marcus Aguilar, 19, whom neighbors describe as a quiet, skinny teenager who loved skateboarding, got in a cab with a pump-action, pistol-grip Mossberg 12-gauge shotgun hidden from sight and a backpack filled with homemade explosives and headed to Columbia Mall in suburban Baltimore.

According to the Washington Post Aguilar got dropped off between Sears and Starbucks around 10:15 a.m. on the second floor of the mall, walked down to the food court and hung out for about an hour.

“We don’t have him on camera in the food court the entire time,” Howard County Executive Ken Ulman told the Post. “But we know he stayed in that area because we would know if he moved out of that area … The way the cameras are, we would have seen him somewhere else if he left that area.”

Then, around 11:15, Aguilar took the escalator back upstairs and walked into Zumiez, a store that sells surfer and skater gear. Police told the Post that Brianna Benlolo, 21, and Tyler Johnson, 25, were working at the store while a customer browsed.

Police are unclear where the shotgun was hidden, as it can’t be seen on his person in the video, the Post reports.

Investigators “don’t know where the weapon was,” Ulman told the Post. Aguilar bought the shotgun last month in Montgomery County, the Post reports. “The assumption is it was in the backpack,” he said. “It certainly wasn’t visible. He wasn’t carrying it openly.”

The Associated Press reports that Aguilar entered the store, walked to the back dressing room, dropped his book bag, walked back out and started shooting. In the end, several people were injured and three people were found dead: two store employees and Aguilar, who police said turned the gun on himself.

What is left in the wake of this tragedy is a sleepy community in a state of disbelief, investigators who have been baffled by emerging details since the shooting and three families whose lives have been connected in tragedy while police try determine if the three shared a connection prior to the shooting.