Investigators said Sunday that they have identified the man who allegedly opened fire at a busy shopping mall in suburban Baltimore on Saturday, killing two clothing store employees before turning the gun on himself.
Three people were confirmed dead following the incident, including the suspected shooter, police confirmed. The two victims were named as Brianna Benlolo, 21, and Tyler Johnson, 25, both of whom worked at skateboard clothing store called Zumiez.
The shooting took place at a mall in Columbia, a suburb of both Baltimore and Washington, D.C.
Early Sunday, investigators said they identified the gunman as the 19-year-old Darion Marcus Aguilar from College Park. He died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound, according to police. Howard County Police Chief Bill McMahon said police are trying to determine whether Aguilar knew either of the victims.
A search of a bag belonging to the suspected shooter and found near his body revealed two crude devices that appeared to be improvised explosives made using fireworks. Police said the mall would remain closed on Sunday.
Authorities said it was too early to speculate about a motive in the attack.
Aside from the two people who were killed, five others were treated at Howard County General Hospital, including one with a gunshot wound.
In the latest incident, someone called 911 at around 11:15 a.m. to report a shooting at the mall. Police responded to the scene within two minutes according to Howard County Executive Ken Ulman.
The Mall in Columbia is at the center of the town and typically opens at 10 a.m. on Saturdays. It was busy with shoppers and employees when shots rang out before noon.
Joan Harding of Elkridge, Md., was shopping with her husband, David, for a tiara for their granddaughter's 18th birthday. She said she heard something heavy falling, followed by gunshots and people running.
"My husband said, 'Get down!' and the girl that worked in the store said, 'Get in the back,'" Harding said. That is where they hid until police gave the all-clear.
At a news conference, McMahon said police are relatively confident that there was only one shooter.
"We don't know a motive yet," McMahon said. "We are very confident that it was a single shooter, and there was not another shooter in the mall."
The mall was closed to the public as police went store to store looking for people who might still be hiding, McMahon said. He said the shooting occurred at a store on the upper floor, above the food court.
He said it was not clear whether the shooting was random or whether the shooter and victims knew each other.
People were directed out of the mall and into a parking lot, where some boarded a bus and others walked toward their cars. McMahon said detectives interviewed witnesses as they emerged from the mall.
Allison Cohen, who works at the apparel store Lucky Brand Jeans, said she had always felt safe at the mall.
"I truly never thought something like this would ever happen here. It's really, really shocking," Cohen said.
Man charged with murder in South Carolina State University shooting
Relative Clara Nelson clears her eyes during testimony in the case of George Stinney, Jr., in Sumter(RANDALL HILL, REUTERS / January 22, 2014)
9:24 a.m. CST, January 25, 2014
CHARLESTON, South Carolina (Reuters) - A man accused of shooting a fellow student to death after an argument outside a dormitory at South Carolina State University was arrested on a murder charge on Saturday, state police said.
Justin Bernard Singleton, 19, was taken into custody for the Friday shooting death of 20-year-old Brandon Robinson, a member of the school's football team, the State Law Enforcement Division said in a statement.
Police on Friday said they were searching for four suspects believed to be involved in the shooting, which occurred at about 1:30 p.m. EST (1830 GMT) on the campus of the college in Orangeburg, South Carolina.
On Saturday, police said Singleton had shot Robinson in the neck while the two were arguing outside a residence hall. Robinson later died at a nearby hospital.
It was not immediately clear whether police were still looking for other suspects.
Singleton is a sophomore at South Carolina State University, an official at the school said on Saturday.
Robinson, a junior majoring in industrial engineering technology, played outside linebacker and defensive end for the school's football team, university officials said in a statement.
"Our hearts are heavy with grief and sorrow by the senseless act of violence, which took too soon a beloved member of our university family," University President Thomas J. Elzey said in the statement.
South Carolina State University has an enrollment of about 3,200 students. Orangeburg, a city of nearly 14,000 people, is located about 75 miles northwest of Charleston.
The shooting was the latest in a rash of gun attacks at schools across the United States.
On Tuesday, a male student was shot and stabbed to death in a classroom at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana.
The day before, a student was shot and critically wounded outside an athletic center at Widener University in Chester, Pennsylvania, near Philadelphia.
Last week, there were shootings of two students at a high school in Philadelphia, one at a high school in Georgia and two at a middle school in New Mexico.
Purdue University shooting suspect charged with murder of teaching assistant
Cody Cousins, 23, is formally charged with the murder of 21-year-old Andrew Boldt who was found with gunshot and knife wounds following a classroom shooting in the school's Electrical Engineering Building on Tuesday afternoon. A motive is still unclear.
Cody Cousins, right, walks down a hall inside the Tippecanoe County Jail in Lafayette, Ind., while heading to his initial hearing on charges of murder on Thursday.
LAFAYETTE, Ind. — A Purdue University student accused in the shooting of a fellow student in a classroom was formally charged with murder on Thursday.
The Tippecanoe County prosecutor’s office filed the charge against Cody Cousins, 23, shortly before a scheduled initial court hearing.
The court documents say 21-year-old Andrew Boldt of West Bend, Wis., suffered both gunshot and knife wounds when he was fatally attacked shortly before 12:30 p.m. Tuesday in Purdue’s Electrical Engineering Building.
The charging document says several other people were in the classroom and witnessed the attack, but it doesn’t give a possible motive.
Police say when an officer arrived, he spotted Cousins sitting on the ground outside the building with his hands behind his head. The officer said Cousins, who has addresses in Warsaw, Ind., and Centerville, Ohio, had blood on his hands and clothes.
Cody Cousins, 23, was formally charged with the murder of 21-year-old Andrew Boldt inside Purdue University's Electrical Engineering Building.
"From what I saw he was very outgoing," said Adams, 24, who still lives in Springboro. "He had a girlfriend. After school I'd see him in the computer labs and he'd be talking to his friends and girlfriend."
Candles, several still burning, along with flowers are placed on the steps of Hovde Hall in memorial to the slain engineering student on Wednesday.
Former high school classmate Matt Herman, who works for WDTN-TV in Dayton, Ohio, told the station that Cousins was on an academic team and part of the skiing and snowboarding club in high school.
"We were all really shocked to hear this," Herman said of the allegations against Cousins.
But Cousins may not have fared as well at Purdue.
Ashley Eidsmore, a teaching assistant in the engineering school, told The Associated Press that Cousins was an undergraduate member of her research team working through the Vertically Integrated Projects course. She said some of her lab mates who worked closely with Cousins complained that he was a "just all-around rude individual."
Purdue Professor Thomas Talavage, who worked with Cousins, said he was intense and aggressive about his projects.
Marquette University High School teacher Keith Klestinski hugs fellow teacher Vicki Bonesho during the prayer service for Andrew Boldt at Saint Frances Cabrini in West Bend, Wis. on Wednesday.
A woman hugs a student at a staging ground set up at the Roswell Mall following a shooting at Berrendo Middle School, Tuesday, Jan. 14, 2014, in Roswell, N.M. A shooter opened fire at the middle school, injuring at least two students before being taken into custody. (AP Photo/Roswell Daily Record, Mark Wilson)
Last year was supposed to be a year of action to curb gun violence in our schools. But three weeks into the new year, statistics suggest that the problem could actually be worsening.
Though the sample size is far too small to draw any definitive conclusions, 2014 is off to a deadly start: in the first 14 school days of the year, there have been at least seven school shootings. For sake of comparison, there were 28 school shootings in all of 2013, according to gun violence prevention group Moms Demand Action.
Purdue University is the most recent, when a 23-year-old teaching assistant fired four shots inside a campus building on Tuesday, killing a 21-year-old senior. One day earlier, a student was hospitalized after being shot near the athletic center on the campus of Widener University in Pennsylvania. And last week, there were at least threeotherschool shootings, resulting in the hospitalization of five students between the ages of 12 and 18.
That number could have been even higher were it not for several near-misses. An eighth grader was arrested in Georgia last week after he brought a gun to school on consecutive days and robbed a classmate. On Tuesday, Portland police rushed to an area high school after a student was reportedly showing off his gun to a fellow classmate during lunch. And early on Wednesday four teenagers were arrested after they were seen pointing a gun at a school bus in Norfolk, Va.
Gun advocates at the National Rifle Association and elsewhere spent months after the tragic shooting in Newtown, Conn., calling for even more guns to be placed inside of schools in the form of armed security officials. And while many schools have indeed introduced so-called “school resource officers” in the last year, there is little evidence they are doing any good at all. Just about the only discernible impact of adding security officials into schools is a dramatic increase in the number of students arrested, sometimes for transgressions such as forgetting to wear a belt. More alarmingly, there have been instances of officers forgetting their guns inside bathrooms used by students or accidentally firing their guns inside of crowded high schools.