Police: Md. mall gunman wrote of killing people

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WASHINGTON (AP) — The gunman in a deadly attack at a Maryland shopping mall wrote in general terms about killing people in his journal and said that he was ready to die, police said Wednesday in releasing new details about writings the shooter left behind.

Darion Aguilar did not mention targeting specific people, groups or locations but expressed in his journal “a general hatred of others,” the Howard County police department said on its Twitter account. He apologized to his family for what he was planning to do and wrote that his plan was set, but did not specify what that meant, police said.

Police say the 19-year-old Aguilar killed two employees of a skateboard gear shop on Saturday at the Mall in Columbia and then took his own life.

Detectives have been analyzing Aguilar’s cellphone, computer, financial records and journal in hopes of coming up with a motive, though answers so far have been elusive and police say they’ve found no connection between Aguilar and his victims.

The police description of the journal entries provides some clues though not a complete explanation for what set off the shooting. It does not, for instance, resolve questions of why Aguilar fatally shot 21-year-old Brianna Benlolo or Tyler Johnson, 25, or how he came to select Zumiez, a shop that sells skateboard gear and accessories, for the rampage.

“Aguilar mentions killing people, but in general terms. He does not mention the victims, or any other specific person,” police wrote on Twitter.

He also revealed that he thought he needed a mental health professional but had never told his family that.

Aguilar, described by friends as an avid skateboarder, graduated from high school last spring and was working at a nearby Dunkin’ Donuts.

A police officer found the journal at Aguilar’s home in College Park after his mother filed a missing person’s report when her son didn’t show up for work. Authorities have said the writing in the journal was enough to make the officer fear for Aguilar’s safety. His cellphone was then tracked to the Columbia mall.

Also Wednesday, police revealed new details about the shooting itself, saying that Aguilar entered the mall with a dissembled shotgun in a back. Police say they believe he put the weapon together in a store dressing room and then shot the two employees and himself after exiting the room. Authorities have said he fired between six and nine shots in and around the store from his legally purchased 12-guage shotgun. One shot struck a woman in the foot near the store.

Associated Press



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