Police: Columbia Mall shooter didn't know victims, fascinated wi

Police: Columbia Mall shooter didn't know victims, fascinated with Columbine

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COLUMBIA, Md. -

The teenager who shot to death two employees at The Mall in Columbia this past January may have had a fascination with the massacre at Columbine High School in 1999.

Two clerks at the Zumiez skate and sportswear shop, 21-year-old Brianna Benlolo and 25-year-old Tyler Johnson, were killed by shotgun-wielding Darion Marcus Aguilar, who police say photographed himself ahead of time with the weapon he legally purchased.

His victims were apparently chosen at random. Howard County Police Chief William McMahon told reporters: “There is no connection – there never has been – there is no connection between Brianna and Tyler and the shooter.”

More than two dozen detectives have worked on the case, finding photos taken by Aguilar showing he knew how to disassemble his new shotgun. Police believe he carried it disassembled in a backpack the day of the shooting.

Computer and internet records, say police, show a young man fascinated with mass murder, guns, explosives, school shootings, and mental illness. In a year-long handwritten journal, Aguilar writes, “I’m going to kill you all … I hate you all so much … you are all worthless.”

A physician suggested Aguilar see a psychiatrist. The young man did not.

A timeline of that Saturday, gathered with security videos, shows the teenager arriving at the mall at 10:10 a.m., going to the food court area and waiting there for nearly an hour, police believe, to initiate the shooting at 11:15 a.m. That’s when the attacks in Columbine High School began in 1999.

In the dressing room of the store, Aguilar took a final photo and posted it on Tumblr, with the text, “Today is the day. I woke up felt no emotions no empathy no sympathy.”

The shootings began one minute later. Police will not release that final photo. Chief McMahon explained, “We believe he took that [photo] in an effort to gain notoriety that he intended for us to find it. That we would display it in a public setting -- again, to bring him fame and notoriety. We’re not going to honor that intention.”

Investigators believe Aguilar acted alone in his murder plot and disclosed to no one his plans to shoot people at the Maryland shopping mall.


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