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Shooting Victim’s Grandfather: No Connection To Columbia Mall Gunman

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Ritchie Rochelle 175x131 L Rochelle Ritchie
Rochelle Ritchie joined WJZ Eyewitness News in June 2012. Prio...
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COLUMBIA, Md. (WJZ) — Brianna Benlolo’s grandfather spoke out by phone to the Associated Press, saying his granddaughter was so happy to be working again and says she had no connection to Darion Aguilar.

Rochelle Ritchie has more.

An infectious smile and a bright spirit–that is how friends and family of 21-year-old Brianna Benlolo remember the young mother who was tragically gunned down at the Mall in Columbia on Jan. 25.

“A male and female were shot inside Zumiez,” a 911 call began.

Brianna worked at Zumiez with Tyler Johnson, where she was the assistant manager. Both were shot and killed by 19-year-old Darion Aguilar.

A witness in the store at the time of the murders says it was horrific.

“He shot her,” he said. “Took one shot.”

Brianna lived just five blocks away from the gunman’s home in College Park but police have not found any evidence they knew each other.

In a phone interview with the Associated Press, Brianna’s grandfather says, “I mean, what can you say? You go to work and make a dollar and you got some idiot coming in and blowing people away.”

He goes on to tell the Associated Press Brianna came from a military family and lived in Colorado before moving to Maryland.

Zumiez was Brianna’s first job after giving birth to her son, who is now two.

A vigil for the victims will be held Thursday at the mall.

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