Motive Unknown In Mall In Columbia Shooting That Left 3 Dead, 5 Injured

COLUMBIA, Md. (WJZ) –Shock and sadness is still being felt in Maryland after a gunman shot and killed two people at the Mall in Columbia on Saturday morning before turning the gun on himself.

Linh Bui has the latest details from police on the investigation.

In the past 36 hours, police have accomplished a lot in their investigation, but the biggest question remains unanswered: what led to this tragedy?

Police still don’t know why 19-year-old Darion Aguilar opened fire inside the Mall in Columbia.

In a briefing Sunday night, police did not have a motive or a connection between the shooter and victims.

“There’s still speculation out there that there was some sort of romantic involvement. We have not been able to establish that. And it’s becoming very frustrating for the families of our victims to continue to hear this,” said Howard County Police Chief Bill McMahon.

Saturday morning, police say Aguilar shot and killed two mall employees — 21-year-old Brianna Benlolo and 25-year-old Tyler Johnson–before turning the gun on himself.

And police say he had more ammunition and homemade explosives in a bag.

Terrified shoppers ran for their lives.

“We grabbed all of our customers and the children and took them out back and locked the door,” a witness said.

Investigators are still interviewing witnesses, as well as those close to the victims and shooter.

Police also seized some of Aguilar’s belongings, including a journal expressing unhappiness.

Related Story: Gunman In Mall Shooting Had No Criminal Record

There are still many officers at the mall. We have seen police cars, as well as security guards patrolling the grounds. And we’re told when the mall reopens Monday afternoon, there will still be a very strong police presence.

Officials urge the community to return, as investigators keep searching for answers.

“We may never quite be back to 100 percent normal, but we are a resilient community that will be back shopping and eating at the Columbia Mall,” said Howard County Executive Ken Ulman.

Related Story: Columbia Residents Pull Together After Mall Shooting

Two memorial sites will be set up at the mall: one near Starbucks and another near Lord and Taylor.

WJZ will join police Monday morning as they take the press through the mall retracing Aguilar’s steps.

The mall will re-open to the general public Monday at 1 p.m.

Five others were injured, including one person who was shot in the foot. All five were treated at Howard County General Hospital and released.

WEB EXTRA: Watch complete press conference.

Sunday night presser:

Sunday morning presser:

Other Local News:

More from Linh Bui

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