• 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

  • Sports

    UAA senior named GNAC Preseason Player of the Year

    by KTVA Sports on Oct 21, 23:18

    UAA senior Travis Thompson was named GNAC Preseason Player of the Year on Tuesday. As a junior, Thompson averaged 21.3 points, 3.5 rebounds and 3.2 assists per game, leading the Seawolves to an 18-9 record (11-7 GNAC). Thompson was on the all-GNAC first team last season and is the only returning player to receive that […]

  • Sports

    UAA volleyball hopes to gain 2 wins at home

    by KTVA Sports on Oct 21, 22:51

    The UAA volleyball squad continues its run for a conference title this week as they take on No. 24 Central Washington on Thursday and No. 16 Northwest Nazarene on Saturday. The Seawolves are currently 10-3 on the season with a 10-1 GNAC record. They played the Wildcats and the Crusaders earlier this season; both matches […]

  • Crime

    Soldotna man charged with kidnapping, assault

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Oct 21, 22:07

    A Soldotna man is in custody after troopers say he kidnapped and assaulted a female at a residence off the Kenai Spur Highway. On Thursday, Oct. 16, Alaska State Troopers and Central Emergency Services responded to a report of disturbance at the Soldotna residence at around 12:45 p.m. and were able to locate the person […]

  • Weather

    Evening News weather, Oct. 21

    by KTVA Weather on Oct 21, 20:55

    Kenai Peninsula and Price William Sound Expect sunny skies, cooler in the morning, and daytime highs. Southeast The Panhandle will get another round of showers and an isolated thunderstorm for coastal southern areas. Interior/North Slope The Interior will get cloudy skies with a flurry or two at times. Snow with wind up to 35 mph […]

  • News

    Anchorage man runs nonprofit for free school supplies

    by Lauren Maxwell on Oct 21, 20:39

    Some people would call him the Santa Claus of school supplies, but it’s not a title Walter Ward wants. As far as he’s concerned, he’s only doing his job. Ward runs a nonprofit that provides free school supplies for low-income schools in Anchorage. He calls it the “Anchorage Teacher’s Store,” but it’s not a store […]

  • News

    Parnell sheds new light on Alaska National Guard firings

    by Bonney Bowman on Oct 21, 18:32

    The day after he fired three Alaska National Guard leaders, Alaska’s governor says more changes are coming. Gov. Sean Parnell says Guard members have expressed frustration over the timeline of the recent adjustments, that have all stemmed from a scathing report released in September. The report, conducted by the Office of Complex Investigations, showed that Guard […]

  • Crime

    Palins describe brawl in police recordings

    by CNN on Oct 21, 18:01

      Washington (CNN) – Bristol Palin describes being dragged through the grass and called a series of obscenities during a massive brawl last month in recordings of Anchorage police interviews that CNN obtained through a public records request. She said she jumped into a fight after “some old lady” pushed her sister, Willow Palin, because “oh […]

  • News

    Orphaned cubs find a home at Fortress of the Bear

    by Heather Hintze on Oct 21, 17:40

    One look at Sitka’s Fortress of the Bear and it’s easy to see how the rescue facility got its name. Brown bears roam around the two large tanks leftover from Sitka’s pulp mill that closed in 1993. “We’ve managed to upcycle these strong, industrial spaces into some really impressive bear habitats,” said bear manager Claire Turner. […]