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Columbia Community Reeling After Mall Shooting

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Friends of the shooting victim join Howard County Executive Ken Ulman at the mall reopening.

Friends of the shooting victim join Howard County Executive Ken Ulman at the mall reopening.

Derek Valcourt 370x278 Derek Valcourt
Derek Valcourt began working at WJZ in September 2002. His first major...
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COLUMBIA, Md. (WJZ) — The entire Howard County community is still stunned from this weekend’s deadly shooting inside the Mall in Columbia.

Derek Valcourt has more on the impact the shooting is having on the community.

It’s not just shock but a true sense of sadness in a community very proud of its reputation for having little violent crime.

The pain is still fresh, even for those who were nowhere near the mall Saturday, those who never even met the two victims.

“I am so sad. It makes me cry that two little kids like that–to me, they’re kids–to lose them. And to lose the boy. If only somebody could have helped him,” said Jo Rubbo.

“We all have kids in our lives, young kids, and these were three beautiful kids whose lives were lost in a senseless tragedy and it’s just a lot of feeling of grief on the part of the community for those families,” said Courtney Watson.

“This community is at this mall at that time of the day,” said Dr. Renee Foose, Howard County Schools Superintendent.

Howard County Schools Superintendent tells WJZ guidance counselors and crisis teams were on hand to speak with students as needed Monday. While little may have been said to younger elementary students, many high school-age kids work at the mall and shop there with friends or family on weekends.

“We’re hearing from our schools that there were some students and staff members that did have to access our counseling services because they were here,” Foose said.

“It just makes you realize that violence is everywhere,” said Jeffrey Ramsay.

Many now are focused on the future and healing for a community so suddenly thrown into shock and despair.

“It’s just really sad and I hope it’s not going to affect the psyche of Columbia,” said Carol Coles. “I really do.”

In that spirit of healing, there will be more memorials and vigils at the mall this week, including one set for Thursday night.

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