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Four Months After Fatal Shooting, Zumiez Reopening At Mall In Columbia

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Jessica Kartalija 3 Jessica Kartalija
Jessica Kartalija joined the Eyewitness News team during the summer of...
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COLUMBIA, Md. (WJZ) — Four months after a tragic shooting left three dead inside the Columbia Mall, the store is reopening–and it will never be the same.

Jessica Kartalija has more.

On Jan. 25, police say a teenager went to the mall intending to kill. Police say 19-year-old Darion Aguilar bought a gun, took a cab from his home in College Park and opened fire inside Zumiez, killing 21-year-old Brianna Benlolo and 25-year-old Tyler Johnson before killing himself.

“Violent acts have no boundaries,” said Rep. Elijah Cummings.

Now the store where the shooting took place is officially reopening. The company says it consulted with the employees and the victims’ families and they all made the decision to remodel the store completely before reopening.

Police say Aguilar suffered from mental health issues and wasn’t properly treated. In his journal, he said he wanted to die, saying he thought he needed a mental health professional but never told his family.

In the months following the shooting, former Howard County Police Chief William McMahon assured the public that police are prepared to handle any emergency.

“When we have incidents there that we think or they think may be causing issues, we involve each other very quickly,” said McMahon.

Howard County Fire and Rescue did walk-throughs of the mall.

“Walking through the mall to identify where sprinkler connections are, the fire pump, fire alarm systems and egress in and out of the buildings,” said an official.

In a statement, Zumiez said, “We all continue to keep the victims and their families in our hearts and together, remember and honor them in many ways.”

The store’s new design recognizes the two employees who were killed with tiles with their initials: B and T.

Zumiez says that people continue to make contributions to two memorial funds made in honor of Brianna Benlolo and Tyler Johnson.

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