UPDATE: Police continue to investigate shooting at mall in Columbia
Howard County police are continuing to investigate a shooting at the Mall in Columbia that resulted in the deaths of two store employees and the shooter.
Police received a call into 911 at 11:15 a.m. about a shooting at the mall. Officers responded in less than two minutes and found two employees at the Zumiez store on the upper level deceased. They were identified as Brianna Benlolo, 21, of College Park, and Tyler Johnson, 25, of Mt. Airy. Investigators have confirmed that Johnson had recently moved from Ellicott City to Mt. Airy.
Investigators have tentatively identified the shooter and are following up on investigative leads. It is believed he died from a self-inflicted gun shot wound. A shotgun and ammunition were found at the scene. No additional information can be released at this time about the suspect or the weapon. The motive in the shooting is still unknown.
A search of the shooter’s bag found inside the store revealed two crude devices that appeared to be an attempt at making explosives using fireworks. Both were disabled. Police will conduct a thorough search of the mall using K-9 units through the night, which is protocol in this type of scenario. The mall will remain closed tomorrow. People may retrieve vehicles from the mall parking lot this evening. Anyone with an emergency situation related to property left inside the mall should call the mall’s Public Safety Office at 410-730-3302.
Police also have interviewed a victim who was shot in the foot during the incident. She advised that she was on the lower level of the mall below the Zumiez store when she received the injury. Detectives are still investigating how that injury occurred.
Throughout the investigation, Howard County Police have been assisted by numerous local, state and federal law enforcement agencies.
Police expect to hold a media briefing Sunday morning, time unconfirmed.