• Forecast
  • News Tip
  • Categories
Temperature Precipitation
Estimated read time
3m 42s

Deadly mall shooting in suburban Baltimore

By CBS News/Associated Press 10:09 AM January 25, 2014

Law enforcement officials tell CBS News early indications are that shooting wasn't random act

COLUMBIA, Md. – A gunman carrying a shotgun opened fire at a busy shopping mall in suburban Baltimore Saturday, sending store employees and customers scrambling for cover. Police said three people died, including the person believed to be the shooter. Five people were injured.

The attack took place at a skate shop called Zumiez on the upper level of the Mall in Columbia, a suburb of both Baltimore and Washington, according to Howard County Police.

Authorities received a 911 call at around 11:15 a.m. to report a shooting at the mall. Police responded to the scene within 2 minutes and found three people dead, including one person who was found near a gun and ammunition.

Police identified the two victims on its Twitter feed. Brianna Benlolo, 21, of College Park, Md., and Tyler Johnson, 25, of Ellicott City, Md., were employees of the shop where the attack occurred.

Howard County Police Chief William J. McMahon told reporters at a news conference that police are still trying to determine the gunman’s identity. McMahon said authorities ran into difficulty in identifying the gunman because of concerns that he might be carrying explosives.

Howard County General Hospital told CBS News that five patients were treated at the facility, and all were in good condition. One patient was a shooting victim while the hospital said three other patients sustained other injuries. The injuries of the fifth person were unknown.

The mall 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, sending scores of people scampering to find the nearest hiding place. Many found cover in backrooms of stores and barricaded themselves in until police arrived.

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 searched the mall and signaled it was safe to leave.

McMahon earlier told reporters that 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. It will remain closed at least through the night.

McMahon said the shooting occurred at a store on the upper floor. He said it wasn’t clear whether the shooting was random or whether the shooter and victims knew each other. While not explicitly calling it a murder-suicide, he said officers did not fire any shots when they arrived at the scene.

Witnesses described moments of panic as they heard a succession of gunshots and screaming as people ran for cover into nearby stores and hid behind locked doors.

Tonya Broughton of Silver Spring, Md., was with a friend getting facials for a “girls morning out,” she said. “The only thing I heard was all the people running and screaming and saying ‘There’s a shooter! There’s a shooter!'” she said.

Wearing a gel face mask, she and her friend hunkered down in a Victoria’s Secret store.

People were directed out of the mall and into a parking lot, where some boarded a bus and others walked toward their cars. Some people were seen crying. McMahon said detectives were interviewing witnesses as they emerged from the mall to try to get a better picture of the events that had unfolded.

Laura McKindles of Columbia works at a kiosk in the mall. She said she heard between eight and 10 gunshots, followed by people running and screaming. She ran into the backroom of a perfume store and locked the door.

Allison Cohen, who works at the apparel store Lucky Brand Jeans, said she always felt safe at the mall.

“I truly never thought something like this would ever happen here,” Cohen said. “It’s really, really shocking.”

© 2014 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Latest Stories

  • Politics

    2016 November election: When, where and how to cast your ballot

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Oct 23, 18:54

    The 2016 November election is right around the corner. Early voting kicks off on Monday, Oct. 24 — just over two weeks before Election Day on Nov. 8. Who am I voting for? This is a big election year. Voters will have a number of candidates to choose from for their district’s state legislative representatives, […]

  • Police seek surveillance footage of early morning shooting near Spenard

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Oct 23, 18:36

    No one was injured in a Sunday morning shooting near Spenard, but Anchorage police say a parked vehicle was damaged by at least one bullet. In a statement about the incident, police said they are hoping residents in the area of Eureka Street and W 32nd Avenue will be able to provide surveillance footage or information […]

  • News

    Troopers: Kasilof man killed in late-night crash

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Oct 23, 14:15

    A Kasilof man died in a single-vehicle wreck late Saturday night, Alaska State Troopers report. Someone reported the wreck on Kalifornsky Beach Road to troopers around 11:40 p.m. and did not know where the driver of the vehicle was, according to an online dispatch. When troopers arrived less than 20 minutes later, they found the […]

  • News

    Report: California soldiers must repay enlistment bonuses

    by KTVA / AP on Oct 23, 11:58

    Nearly 10,000 California National Guard soldiers have been ordered to repay huge enlistment bonuses a decade after signing up to serve in Iraq and Afghanistan. The Los Angeles Times reports the Pentagon demanded the money back after audits revealed overpayments by the California Guard eager to fill ranks and hit enlistment targets. Faced with a […]

  • Lifestyle

    New bumble bee, flower fly species discovered in Denali National Park

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Oct 23, 10:48

    Two new species of pollinating bugs have been discovered in Denali National Park and Preserve, according to park officials. The new species were discovered during a 2012 pollinator survey in the park, a statement from park officials explained. “I think these two new discoveries really highlight the fact that there is still so much to learn […]

  • News

    Presbyterian church first to present statewide apology at AFN

    by Liz Raines on Oct 22, 19:50

    The Presbyterian church becomes the first religious organization to officially apologize at #2016AFN to @NativeFed for oppression, abuse. pic.twitter.com/xP3gPYPHWz — Liz Raines (@lrainesktva) October 22, 2016 FAIRBANKS – It was a historic moment for the Alaska Federation of Natives (AFN) Saturday. For the first time, a religious organization came before an AFN convention to apologize […]

  • News

    Alaska veterans receive warm welcome home after Honor Flight

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Oct 22, 19:05

    A group of Alaska veterans returned Saturday from Washington D.C., where they visited our nation’s war memorials thanks to Last Frontier Honor Flight. The crowd waiting for their arrival at Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport applauded as the veterans disembarked to the sounds of bagpipes from the Alaska Celtic Pipes and Drums (ACPD). The 23 […]

  • News

    SAVEarth project aims to provide homeless Alaskans with boots

    by Eric Ruble on Oct 22, 18:28

    While many Alaskans are celebrating the first snow of the season, it marks the beginning of a tough time of year for people living outdoors. A group from the Lower 48 is working to help Anchorage’s homeless in a big way. SAVEarth is assembling 1,100 pairs of boots with the help of volunteers. Each pair […]