Community Moving Forward After Tragic Shooting At Mall In Columbia
COLUMBIA, Md. (WJZ) — It’s been almost two months since the tragic shooting at the Mall in Columbia. Residents in the area say they will always remember the victims, but they have to move forward.
Rochelle Ritchie has more.
It’s a community trying to move on after a horrific tragedy at the Mall in Columbia sent customers with their hands up quickly leaving the mall.
Darion Aguilar used a shotgun to kill two people and then himself.
“Because he killed himself, there will be no trial, there will be no public hearing, there will be no other venue for our public to find out what happened,” said Chief William McMahon, Howard County Police.
The violent actions of the 19-year-old caused some shoppers to question their safety.
“I thought a lot about it, having two kids myself, and what would I do and where would I go and kind of the vulnerability,” Sherry Hoyt said.
It’s been almost two months since the shooting. Aguilar shot and killed Tyler Johnson and Brianna Benlolo inside the Zumiez store in January. He fired several bullets toward other innocent people in the food court.
Residents say, while they are sympathetic to the violent murders, they cannot dwell on the incident.
“Tragedy could strike anybody, any day, anywhere. You kind of just can’t let that affect what you do,” Rich Whipkey said.
While the Columbia mall shooting certainly stunned people in the area, residents say the community moving forward is easy compared to the families of the victims, who have yet to get any closure.
“It’s easy for us to stand here at a gas station and talk about how it affected us when it really didn’t affect us very much,” Joe Petrucci said.
Since the mall reopened, it’s been business as usual. Customers say, unfortunately, shootings like this are part of the world we live in, but we can’t live in fear.
“Communities move on, especially this day and age. There are so many things that happen. This isn’t the first time and several communities have moved on before,” Hoyt said.
Chief McMahon tells WJZ the families of Benlolo and Johnson have shown a substantial amount of courage as they try to move forward themselves.
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