Police say a missing College Park man was the gunman in Saturday’s shooting at the Mall in Columbia.
Darion Marcus Aguilar, 19, of the 4700 block of Hollywood Road in College Park, was initially reported missing to Prince George’s County police at about 1:40 p.m. on Saturday, said Lt. William Alexander, a Prince George’s County police spokesman.
Howard County Police reported that Aguilar opened fire at about 11:15 a.m. in the mall’s Zumiez store, killing Brianna Benlolo, 21, of College Park and Tyler Johnson, 25, of Mount Airy, said Sherry Llewellyn, Howard County Police spokeswoman. County police believe Aguilar killed himself after the shooting, Llewellyn said.
Aguilar’s mother believed her son had gone missing sometime after he was scheduled to work at 5:30 a.m. Saturday, Alexander said. Aguilar worked at the College Park Dunkin’ Donuts, 10260 Baltimore Ave., according to a statement from Dunkin’ Donuts.
A Prince George’s police investigator read Aguilar’s journal, which police said contained information that made the investigator “concerned for the missing person’s safety.”
Aguilar graduated from James Hubert Blake High School in Silver Spring in 2013, said Dana Tofig, a Montgomery County Public Schools spokesman.
Alexander said Prince George’s police didn’t discover Aguilar was the alleged shooter until after 6 p.m. when the investigator followed Aguilar’s phone signal to the mall. The missing person information was turned over to the Howard County Police Department, which is investigating the shooting since the incident occurred inside Howard County, Alexander said.
Prince George’s police did not make the missing person investigator available for interview.
“We found out after the shooting,” Alexander said. “It was not like we could have intercepted him before it happened.”
Police said Aguilar was living with his mother in College Park. No one responded at Aguilar’s mother property and was not home or available for comment.
Neighbors said they did not know Aguilar personally and that Saturday’s incident did not cause them to feel unsafe.
Jessica Canotti said she bought her home off Hollywood Road about eight months ago and chose the neighborhood partly because it seemed safe and stable.
“This neighborhood was quiet,” she said. “I did my research because I have kids. I want to know my neighbors.”
Her husband, Daniel Canotti, said the neighborhood was not so quiet on Saturday afternoon when the roads were blocked and full of police cars. He said he still feels safe in his home.
“But I’m a little scared to go to the mall now,” he said.
Heidi Mayhew of College Park was picking up a piece of furniture a few houses down from Aguilar’s residence two days after the shooting.
“It could be anywhere,” she said. “The only things that worry me are the things that happen in schools because my kids go to public schools. God, it’s happening everywhere.”
Residents Sharri Gertler and Walter Comisiak took one of their regular walks Monday around the neighborhood, a route that took them past Aguilar’s house.
“I think it can happen anywhere and it has happened in many places you wouldn’t expect,” Gertler said. “I’m not moving because of it.”
Gertler said residents are still processing what happened and what it means to them.
“It’s a good solid community,” she said. “I think we’re all feeling the effects, but it could happen anywhere, and like I said, it does.”