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COLUMBIA, Md. (AP) — The mall where a Maryland teenager gunned down two people before killing himself was set for a somber reopening Monday under increased security as police worked to figure out why the shooting took place and whether the gunman knew either victim.
 
Investigators found a journal belonging to Darion Marcus Aguilar, 19, but they would only say that it "expressed general happiness." The contents, however, were enough for an officer looking into the disappearance of Aguilar on the day of the shooting to worry about the teen's safety.
 
Police said Aguilar took a taxi to the Mall in Columbia in suburban Baltimore on Saturday morning and entered the building near Zumiez, a shop that sells skateboarding gear. He went downstairs to a food court directly below the store, then returned less than an hour later, dumped the backpack in a dressing room and started shooting.
 
Shoppers fled in a panic or barricaded themselves behind closed doors. When police arrived, they found three people dead — two store employees and Aguilar.
 
The shooting baffled investigators and acquaintances of Aguilar, a quiet, skinny teenager who graduated from high school less than a year ago and had no previous run-ins with law enforcement.
 
Aguilar, who had concealed the shotgun in a bag, fired six to nine times. One victim, Brianna Benlolo, a 21-year-old single mother, lived half a mile away from Aguilar in the same College Park neighborhood, but police said they were still trying to determine what, if any, relationship they had.
 
The other employee, Tyler Johnson, did not know Aguilar and did not socialize with Benlolo outside of work, a relative said.
 
Zumiez chief executive Rick Brooks said in a statement that when the mall reopens, there will be memory books to sign and visitors will be invited to float flowers in the mall's fountain in memory of Benlolo and Johnson.
 
"Counselors have met with the store team," he said Sunday. "The emotions are very raw and real — and as co-workers and friends, we are pulling together."
 
Aguilar was accepted last February to Montgomery College, a community college in the Washington suburbs, but school spokesman Marcus Rosano said he never registered or attended.
 
Tydryn Scott, 19, said she was Aguilar's lab partner in science class at James Hubert Blake High School and said he hung out with other skaters. She said she was stung by the news.
 
"It was really hurtful, like, wow — someone that I know, someone that I've been in the presence of more than short amounts of time. I've seen this guy in action before. Never upset, never sad, just quiet, just chill," Scott told The Associated Press. "If any other emotion, he was happy, laughing."
 
Aguilar graduated in 2013.
 
The Prince George's County Police Department said it received a missing persons report for Aguilar at about 1:40 p.m. Saturday, more than two hours after the mall shooting. Officers went to Aguilar's home to speak with his mother about 5 p.m. and saw Aguilar's journal. The portion the officer read made him concerned for Aguilar's safety, the department said.
 
Police began tracking Aguilar's phone and soon discovered it was at the mall.
 
Howard County Police Chief William McMahon said there has been speculation about a romantic relationship between the gunman and Benlolo, but investigators have not been able to establish that.
 
Aguilar purchased the 12-gauge shotgun legally last month at a store in neighboring Montgomery County.
 
At his home where he lived with his mother, officers also recovered more ammunition, computers and documents, police said. No one answered the door there Sunday. A half-mile away, a roommate who answered the door at Benlolo's home confirmed that she lived there but declined to comment further. Two police officers went into the home after he spoke briefly to a couple of reporters.
 
Residents described the neighborhood as a mix of owners and renters, including some University of Maryland students.
 
A man who answered the phone at Johnson's residence in Mount Airy, northwest of Baltimore, said the family had no comment. The victim's aunt told a local television station she did not believe her nephew knew Aguilar.
 
Sydney Petty, in a statement to WBAL-TV, said she did not believe her nephew had a relationship with Benlolo.
 
"Tyler didn't have anything beyond a working relationship with this girl, and he would have mentioned it if he did, and we're just as confused as anybody," Petty said.
 
Five other people were hurt in the attack, but only one was hit by gunfire — a woman who was hit in the foot upstairs near Zumeiz. All were released from hospitals hours later.
Published in National News
Saturday, 25 January 2014 13:05

Police: 3 dead, including presumed gunman

COLUMBIA, Md. (AP) — Police in Maryland say three people are dead in a shooting at a mall in suburban Baltimore.

Police say they believe the shooter is among the dead.

Howard County police said via Twitter that the scene is now "believed to be secure."

The shooting happened at the Mall in Columbia, a suburb between Baltimore and Washington.

Authorities received a call to 911 at around 11:15 a.m. from someone reporting that shots had been fired. Police responded to the scene and found three people dead, including one person who was found near a gun and ammunition.

Published in National News
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) - An autopsy has revealed that a San Francisco Bay Area transit officer who was shot and killed by a fellow officer died of a single gunshot wound to the chest.
 
   The results of the autopsy on Bay Area Rapid Transit police Sgt. Tom Smith were released Thursday by the Alameda County Sheriff's Office.
 
   Smith was wearing a bulletproof vest, but Sheriff's spokesman J.D. Nelson said the bullet struck an area that was not covered.
 
   The 42-year-old Smith was shot Tuesday while authorities searched a one-bedroom apartment in Dublin for items stolen during an armed holdup at a train station in Oakland.
   Investigators are trying to determine whether the officer's gun discharged accidentally or he mistook Smith for someone else.
Published in National News

The drug dealer at the center of the St. Clair County court scandal, is headed to prison.

 

Sean McGilvery was sentenced to 10 years in prison Thursday. McGilvery pleaded guilty to selling heroin last year and said that then-judge Michael Cook was a regular customer. Court documents say that Cook stopped by McGilvery's house almost every day to pick up heroin. Cook admitted to drug charges and will be sentenced next month.

 

Another Judge, Joe Christ, died of a cocaine overdose at a cabin owned by Cook in March. 

Published in Local News
NORMAN, Okla. (AP) - University of Oklahoma officials say authorities have found no evidence of shots being fired on campus and no injuries have been reported.
 
The school had posted a notice on its website earlier Wednesday saying there had been reports of a shooting and that people should avoid Gould Hall, which is near the center of campus.
 
University spokeswoman Catherine Bishop says in a statement that normal campus operations have since resumed except for Gould Hall, where additional checking is continuing Wednesday. She says no evidence has been found of any shots being fired.
Published in National News
ROSWELL, N.M. (AP) - A witness says the gunman in a school shooting in the southeastern New Mexico city of Roswell was a student.
 
The shooter wounded two students at Berrendo Middle School on Tuesday morning before being taken into custody.
 
Officials at University Medical Center in Lubbock, Texas, say a 14-year-old boy was flown there in critical condition, and a 13-year-old girl was en route in serious condition. Hospital spokesman Eric Finley says information from nurses treating the boy indicates he was the shooter's target.
 
A student who witnessed the shooting says the shooter was a boy who she thought was being bullied. Eighth grader Odiee Carranza says it happened in the school gym. She says the boy shot the 14-year-old twice in the face, and shot the girl in the arm.
 
Carranza says the boy then fired a shot into the sky before dropping the gun. A teacher then grabbed him.
Published in National News
Tuesday, 14 January 2014 14:41

Denver police identify hostage suspect

DENVER (AP) - Denver police have identified the man who was shot while trying to use a woman as a human shield during a hostage standoff as 34-year-old Blas Leroux, but they are not saying anything about a possible motive.
 
Dramatic video shot by KDVR-TV shows Leroux leaving a 7-Eleven store with a hostage in front of him on Monday when a police bullet to the shoulder knocks him down and the woman runs away. Leroux was taken to a hospital where police said he is in critical condition.
 
Anthony Flores told KMGH-TV that he saw the shooting from across the street. He said the suspect didn't move after being shot.
 
Police say the man took three hostages, but one managed to escape.
Published in National News
   WESLEY CHAPEL, Fla. (AP) — An argument over texting in a Florida movie theater Monday triggered a retired Tampa police captain to fatally shoot a man sitting in front of him, as about 25 horrified moviegoers looked on, sheriff's officials said.
   "Somebody throws popcorn. I'm not sure who threw the popcorn," said Charles Cummings, who, as a birthday treat, was about to watch the movie "Lone Survivor" at The Grove 16 Theater.
   "And then bang, he was shot."
   Curtis Reeves, 71, has been charged with second-degree murder and it's not immediately clear whether he has retained an attorney.
   Pasco County Sheriff's officials said the shooting happened when Reeves asked 43-year-old Chad Oulson to stop texting at the theater in Wesley Chapel, a suburb about a half hour north of downtown Tampa.
   Reeves and his wife were sitting behind Oulson and his wife. Oulson told Reeves that he was texting with his 3-year-old daughter, Cummings said.
   "It ended almost as quickly as it started," said sheriff's spokesman Doug Tobin. The sheriff's office says an off-duty Sumter County deputy detained Reeves until police arrived.
   Cummings and his son Alex — who both had blood on their clothes as they walked out of the theater — told a group of reporters Monday afternoon that the show was still in previews when the two couples started arguing.
   Cummings said the man in the back row — later identified as Reeves — got up and left the auditorium, presumably to get a manager. But he came back after a few minutes, without a manager and appearing upset. Moments later, the argument between the two men resumed, and the man in the front row stood up.
   Officials said Oulson asked Reeves if he reported him to management for using his phone.
   Cummings said the men started raising their voices and popcorn was thrown. Authorities said Reeves took out a gun, and Oulson's wife put her hand over her husband, and that's when Reeves fired his weapon, striking Nichole Oulson in the hand and her husband in the chest.
   "I can't believe people would bring a pistol, a gun, to a movie," Cummings said. "I can't believe they would argue and fight and shoot one another over popcorn. Over a cellphone."
   Cummings, who said he was a combat Marine in Vietnam, said Oulson fell onto him and his son.
   "Blood started coming out of his mouth," said Alex Cummings. "It was just a very bad scene."
   Charles Cummings said his son went to call 911, while Cummings and another patron who claimed to a nurse began performing CPR on the victim.
   A man sitting next to the shooter grabbed the gun out of his hand, and the suspect did not attempt to get away, Cummings said.
   Oulson and his wife were taken by ambulance to a Tampa-area hospital, where the Chad Oulson died, Tobin said. His wife's injuries weren't considered life-threatening.
   Tampa Police spokeswoman Laura McElroy said in a news release that Reeves was a captain when he retired from the department in 1993. She added that he was instrumental in establishing the agency's first tactical response team. After he retired, Reeves worked security for the Busch Gardens theme park and was on the board of a neighboring county's Crime Stoppers organization. Reeves' son also is a Tampa officer, police said.
Published in National News
The suspect connected to a shooting near the Delmar Loop is still on the loose.
 
The shooting happened Sunday. The suspect was seen on a traffic camera jumping out of the victim's car and running away. Police believe the suspect might have stolen another car to escape.
 
Anyone with information regarding the man or the incident is asked to call CrimeStoppers at 866-371-8477. All calls are anonymous and tips leading to an arrest can lead to a reward. 
Published in Local News

The St. Louis Police Department is hoping video from a red light camera can help ID a man seen leaving the scene of a shooting and car accident.

 

Just after 6:45 PM Sunday, a driver at the intersection of Delmar and Skinker was shot several times. The shooting caused him to crash his car. In the video, the passenger of that car can be seen running away. Police say he stole a car in the area and drove off. Officers found a gun and drugs in the vehicle.  

 

If you recognize the suspect, police ask you to call CrimeStoppers at 866-371-TIPS. It’s anonymous and tips leading to an arrest are eligible for a $1,000 reward.

Published in Local News
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