• 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

  • News

    Students make ‘mountain of sandwiches’ for Anchorage’s homeless

    by Heather Hintze on Jan 26, 18:00

    Students at Anchorage’s Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic School are helping to feed Anchorage’s homeless community. Monday morning, the kids made a “mountain of sandwiches” that went to feed clients at the Brother Francis Shelter. Parents said the activity kicked off the school’s celebration of Catholic Schools Week. First- through -sixth-grade students formed assembly lines to turn out […]

  • News

    Crews work to restore heat and water to UAF buildings

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Jan 26, 17:41

    Some University of Alaska Fairbanks buildings are without heat and water following line breaks, school officials report. The breaks happened within the utility corridors near the campus fire station along Yukon Drive around 4:30 a.m. Monday, says UAF spokeswoman Marmian Grimes. Repair crews were initially unable to reach the breaks. This was due to resulting […]

  • Crime

    Anchorage man sentenced to 17.5 years for sexual exploitation of a minor

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Jan 26, 17:29

    An Anchorage man who pleaded guilty to two counts of sexual exploitation of a child was sentenced in federal court Thursday. Kevin Dale Callander, 45, was sentenced to 210 months — or 17.5 years — in prison on two counts of sexual exploitation. Additionally, Callander will serve a separate 12-year prison term for sexual abuse […]

  • News

    Pedestrian-involved crash, school bus crash temporarily close Muldoon Road

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Jan 26, 17:12

    One lane of Muldoon Road was temporarily closed Monday afternoon following two vehicle accidents, with one crash resulting in a young boy having to be taken to the hospital. The first collision occurred around 3:30 p.m. near the intersection of Muldoon Road and Duben Avenue. According to a witness at the scene, a young boy was […]

  • News

    Alaska SeaLife Center cares for blind baby seal

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Jan 26, 15:25

    The Alaska SeaLife Center in Seward is caring for a blind harbor seal rescued in Homer last year. Bryce, found at Land’s End, was the final seal pup rescue of 2014, according to a statement from the center. Because he is blind, he is considered non-releasable by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration-National Marine Fisheries […]

  • Crime

    New Mexico man sentenced for attempted drug trafficking to Cordova

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Jan 26, 13:52

    A New Mexico man has been sentenced for trying to smuggle drugs into Cordova in 2012. Enrique Lino was sentenced to 12 years in prison Friday on charges of second- and third-degree misconduct involving a controlled substance. He was convicted in October of last year. Lino was arrested June 21, 2012, after the Alaska State […]

  • Crime

    14-year-old detained following Sunday night shooting, victim named

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Jan 26, 12:46

    A 14-year-old is in custody after a shooting near the University Area Sunday evening – Anchorage’s first homicide of 2015, police say. According to witnesses, the victim, 18-year-old Charles Gustav Steinhilpert III, and the 14-year-old suspect planned to meet at a Walgreens, located at the intersection of Lake Otis Parkway and Tudor Road, for a drug deal, […]

  • Sports

    BLM to host ‘Women of the Iditarod’ Twitter chat

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Jan 26, 12:16

    Students and fans will have the opportunity to talk to Iditarod mushers Wednesday during a live Twitter chat, according to the Alaska Bureau of Land Management. From 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. AKST, people can live-tweet with 2015 Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race competitors Lisbet Skogan Norris, Jodi Bailey, Dan Kaduce and rookie Heidi Sutter. Veterans Karin […]