Maryland Mall to Reopen Monday, Young Shooter's Motive Remains Unclear

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Although the motive remains shrouded in mystery, police now know a little more about Saturday's Maryland Mall shooting. They know that the shooter was only 19 years old, and that his name was Darion Marcus Aguilar. They know that he wasn't a happy kid — his journal, which they found on the day of the shooting, when Aguilar was reported missing, was the type of journal that makes you worry about the writer's safety. They know that he'd bought a gun a few weeks before. What they don't know is why he walked into the mall and started firing.

Aguilar was reported missing by his mother, who he lived with, at roughly 1:40 p.m. Saturday — more than two hours after the mall shooting. Police officers made it to his house, and found the journal, at roughly 5 p.m. At that point, they still hadn't ID'd him as the shooter, but the journal "expressed general unhappiness" and made them concerned for Aguilar's safety. They also found more ammunition, computers, and documents.

On Saturday morning, Aguilar went to the Mall in Columbia in suburban Baltimore by cab. He hung around the food court for roughly an hour, and then walked into Zumiez, a skateboarding shop — he himself was a skateboarder — dumped his backpack full of ammunition and explosives in the dressing room, and opened fire.

Aguilar fired six to nine times, killing two Zumiez employees and himself. One of the victims, Brianna Benlolo, a 21-year-old single mother, lived in Aguilar's neighborhood. In spite of suggestions about Benlolo and Aguilar's relationship, police said they found no connection between them.

“There’s still speculation that there was somehow some romantic involvement [between Aguilar and Benlolo and Johnson and Benlolo]," Howard County Police Chief William J. McMahon said. “We have not been able to establish that, and I’m not sure where that information is coming from. And it’s becoming very frustrating for the families of the victims to hear this.”

With the mall set for a reopening Monday under increased security, Twitter users have started using the hashtag #marylandmallshooting to reopen the debate about gun laws — after all, Aguilar bought the 12-gauge shotgun last month, legally, at a store in Montgomery County.