COLUMBIA, Md. (WJZ) — Columbia comes together at the mall where a gunman opened fire and killed two people before taking his own life. A community shattered begins to heal.
Meghan McCorkell was there for Thursday evening’s candlelight vigil.
It was an emotional service outside the mall as the community comes together.
A sea of people gathered outside the Mall in Columbia to light candles in honor of 25-year-old Tyler Johnson and 21-year-old Brianna Benlolo.
“Help us as we try to deal with what has happened,” said Rev. Robert Turner with St. John Baptist Church.
The two mall employees lost their lives when a gunman opened fire inside the Zumiez store Saturday. Benlolo was the mother of a 2-year-old son.
“Please remember her as the amazing person she was and please strive to be the light in other people’s lives. Bring the happiness she would bring to ours,” said friend Patric Centorbi.
Tyler Johnson volunteered at the Serenity Center, speaking out to young people about addiction.
“This was never about Tyler to Tyler. It was always about the other person. And what a beautiful life to live. What a beautiful legacy to leave,” said Joan Webb Scornaienchi with HC DrugFree.
As the community comes together to mourn, police are releasing new details in the investigation.
Investigators are focusing on a journal written by alleged shooter Darion Aguilar.
Now leaders are trying to ease fears, as friends, co-workers and strangers mourn two lives lost.
“The mall is really the heart of the community. Our kids hang out here. We consider it a safe place,” Rabbi Susan Grossman said.
Funeral services for Tyler Johnson were held earlier Thursday.
The “Brianna Benlolo Memorial Fund” will benefit Brianna’s son and will be set up as a trust to provide for his future health, education, support and maintenance. Contributions can be made at any Wells Fargo branch by referencing the Brianna Benlolo Memorial Fund or can be made by mailing a check to: The Brianna Benlolo Memorial Fund, P.O. Box 1353 , Lynnwood, WA 98046
The “Tyler Johnson Memorial Fund” will benefit the Community Foundation of Howard County. Donations can be made care of: The Tyler Johnson Memorial Fund, 10630 Little Patuxent Parkway, Century Plaza, Suite 315, Columbia, MD 21044 and online at www.cfhoco.org/give/donate/foundation.
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