Darion Marcus Aguilar Identified As Maryland Mall Shooter; Police Unsure Of Motive
The Columbia, Md., mall shooter has been identified by police as local 19-year-old Darion Marcus Aguilar.
Darion Marcus Aguilar ID'd As Shooter
Although Howard County police have ID’d the shooter, they are no closer to determining his motive or relation to the two deceased victims – Brianna Benlolo, 21, and Tyler Johnson, 25, reported Fox News. Both Benlolo and Johnson worked at the mall’s Zumiez store, where they were shot and killed. Aguilar also died at the scene of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound.
It’s been theorized that Aguilar may have had a previous relationship with Benlolo and became jealous of her new relationship with Johnson. However, police say that evidence doesn’t indicate that romantic relationships ever existed between any of the three parties. It’s not even known if Aguilar knew Benlolo or Johnson at all.
No Evidence Ties Aguilar To Victims
“We have absolutely no information at this time that links the shooter to either of these victims,” Howard County Executive Ken Ulman told The Washington Post. “We have no information whatsoever on a motive. We’ve found no evidence of any connection at all. That doesn’t mean there isn’t one. It just means we’ve found no evidence that there is.”
“Be assured that [motive] is the most important question that we’re still looking for answers to,” Ulman said.
At the time of the shooting, Aguilar had been living with his mother in College Park, Md., and working at a Dunkin’ Donuts in the area. On Saturday, Aguilar was supposed to open the doughnut chain, but instead took a cab to the mall, according to the police. Once he arrived, he reportedly sat at the food court, which is located on a floor below the Zumiez store. After an hour of idling, security cameras show Aguilar going upstairs.
Aguilar, who had apparently legally purchased the Mossberg 12-gauge shotgun in December, brought it into the mall in a backpack. He pulled it out of hiding while in the Zumiez dressing room before he opened fire on his victims. In his backpack, police located extra ammunition as well as two crude explosive devices fashioned with fireworks.
“I think this country is in a lot of trouble,” Laura McKindles, who was in the Columbia mall at the time of the shooting, told the Post. “I mean, what possesses someone to, on a Saturday afternoon, in this cold, to come to a mall and shoot people?"
– Chelsea Regan