Police: Gunman had often hung out at Maryland mall
- Article by: ERIC TUCKER
- Associated Press
- January 28, 2014 - 6:10 PM
WASHINGTON — A Maryland man who killed two people at a mall before shooting himself often hung out at the shopping center, though investigators have not yet determined whether he had previously visited the store where the rampage took place, police said Tuesday.
Howard County police also said that a journal recovered from the home of the gunman, 19-year-old Darion Aguilar, does not shed light on whether he knew either of the two victims. Aguilar was an avid skateboarder who graduated from high school last spring and was working at a Dunkin' Donuts shop.
"Police have learned shooter Darion Aguilar frequented Columbia Mall and would hang outside and smoke in small groups. It is unknown if he'd been in Zumiez before," police said in an update posted to their Facebook page, asking mall patrons for help gathering further information.
Detectives are still seeking a motive in Saturday's shooting at the Zumiez store, which sells skateboard gear, at the Mall in Columbia in suburban Baltimore.
Police say Aguilar used a legally purchased 12-gauge shotgun to kill two store employees and then shot himself more than an hour after the mall opened, sending panicked shoppers scurrying for cover. The mall reopened for business on Monday.
As part of their investigation, police said they were analyzing Aguilar's cell phone and home computer, though no new information has been discovered, and are also reviewing his financial records. Police also distributed a flyer around the mall with Aguilar's photo to elicit information.
Authorities said Tuesday that they were not prepared to release the contents of the journal, which they have previously said expressed general feelings of sadness, but posted on Twitter that "Aguilar knew he was having mental health issues." Police spokeswoman Sherry Llewellyn said detectives were still interviewing people who knew Aguilar and did not want to be more specific on mental health while those interviews were taking place.
Ellis Cropper, a family friend who is serving as a family spokesman, said he didn't know anything about Aguilar having mental health issues, but declined to comment further and said Aguilar's mother did not want him doing any more interviews.
Bruce Goldfarb, a spokesman for the state medical examiner's office, said Tuesday that the gunman stuck the weapon in his mouth and died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound. One victim, 21-year-old Brianna Benlolo, died from gunshot wounds to the neck and chest, and the second victim, 25-year-old Tyler Johnson, also suffered multiple gunshot wounds, Goldfarb said.
The full autopsy reports are not yet available.
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