• 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

    Officer struck by car in lot of South Anchorage Fred Meyer

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Feb 28, 23:25

    The Anchorage Police Department has confirmed that an officer was struck by a car in the parking lot of Fred Meyer on Dimond Boulevard Saturday night. KTVA 11 News will have more details as they become available. Please check back for updates.

  • Sports

    Faeo, Quam win 2,000-mile Iron Dog race

    by Associated Press on Feb 28, 18:12

    Scott Faeo and Eric Quam crossed the finish line in downtown Fairbanks just after 12:30 p.m. Saturday to win the 2015 Iron Dog snowmachine race. The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner (http://ow.ly/JLUQU ) reports the duo claimed the title after leading much of the 2,000-mile course despite snowless conditions, open water and a coastal storm. Aaron Bartel […]

  • News

    Flights canceled in Nome, Bethel due to ash from Russian volcano eruption

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Feb 28, 17:48

    The Alaska Volcano Observatory says there have been flight cancellations in Nome and Bethel, due to affected air travel after a volcanic eruption in Russia. Russia’s Kamchatka Volcanic Eruption Response Team notified the Alaska Observatory of the eruption just after 4 p.m. Friday afternoon. KVERT has issued an orange aviation color code after the Shiveluch Volcano […]

  • News

    AST: Man wanted after eluding troopers on Seward Highway, fleeing on foot

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Feb 28, 13:28

    A Wanted Bulletin has been issued by Alaska State Troopers after an eluding incident on the Seward Highway. Troopers are also advising Seward Highway drivers not to pick up hitchhikers after a male driver failed to yield for a traffic stop and then fled on foot. Initially, the driver — identified as 32-year-old Andre Morris […]

  • News

    Mayor Sullivan: More funds needed to push SAP project forward

    by Lauren Maxwell on Feb 28, 11:31

    Anchorage’s troubled computer software system, known as SAP, needs more cash to get it going. Mayor Dan Sullivan’s administration asked the Anchorage Assembly Friday to spend $8.3 million to hire consultants who can help to push the project forward. Sullivan said the money will pay for contracts that would run through Sept. 30 and carry over […]

  • News

    Pedestrian running across Muldoon Road struck by SUV

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Feb 28, 0:16

    A pedestrian running across Muldoon Road late Friday night was struck by an oncoming vehicle, police say. Just after 11 p.m., six units from the Anchorage Police Department responded to the scene of a collision involving a Toyota SUV and a male pedestrian near Duben Avenue. The driver remained on scene and was cooperating with […]

  • News

    2014 Alaska drug report shows increases in heroin and meth use

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Feb 27, 22:42

    A report highlighting cases related to substance abuse in Alaska in 2014 was released by the Department of Public Safety Friday. The Statewide Drug Enforcement Unit’s 2014 annual drug report covered arrests and seizures of items ranging from alcohol and prescription medication to heroin and meth labs. Over $28 million worth of drugs — in street […]

  • News

    CANstruction raises hunger awareness

    by Bonney Bowman on Feb 27, 21:04

    Making art and raising awareness about hunger, all with cans of food — the 2015 CANstruction food drive kicked off Friday at University Mall. Teams have 12 hours to build large sculptures, using only canned food. This year’s theme is “Under the Sea.” Organizers say it’s a great way to bring the issue of hunger in […]