COLUMBIA, Md. (WJZ) — Twenty-four hours after the release of new details about the Mall in Columbia shooting, the sole witness to the rampage speaks out.
Rochelle Ritchie spoke exclusively with the only person inside the Zumiez store at the time the victims were killed.
There is no denying that what this witness saw inside the store that day was traumatic. While he is grateful to be alive, he still questions why his life was spared.
It’s the first time he is revealing his identity after witnessing a double murder at the Mall in Columbia.
“There was problems sleeping, problems concentrating. They said that was normal. Every day since, it’s gotten less and less,” he said.
Chris, 27, was the only other person inside Zumiez when Darion Aguilar shot and killed Brianna Benlolo and Tyler Johnson.
He shared his story exclusively with WJZ in a sit-down interview the day of the murders.
“I basically just scrambled out of the store on my hands and knees right by the male employee who was down on the ground,” he said.
Nearly two months have passed since the mall shooting. Chris says learning the shooter had no connection to his victims makes him question why Aguilar did not kill him.
“That’s the one thing I struggle with. I don’t understand why he didn’t kill me when he had the opportunity to,” Chris said. “I mean, I was right there, four feet behind the girl, Brianna. He definitely saw me getting out of the store. That’s the one thing that I still don’t understand, I never will understand.”
Chris says a photo of Aguilar with the shotgun he used to carry out the murders brings back haunting memories.
“It brings back that moment when I saw him walk out the dressing room and point it to her head and shoot her,” he said.
There were no cameras inside Zumiez the day Brianna and Tyler were killed. Chris is the only person who witnessed what happened–a traumatic scene he wishes he could forget.
“I’m just grateful and really lucky that I had somebody watching over me that day, that I wasn’t another victim,” he said.
Chris says it wasn’t until after the murders he realized he shared mutual friends with Brianna and Tyler.
Chris says he has not been back to the Mall in Columbia since the murders.
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