Tags: brianna benlolo | tyler johnson | maryland | mall | shooting

Brianna Benlolo, Tyler Johnson: Maryland Mall Shooting Victims

Monday, 27 Jan 2014 09:15 AM

By Michael Mullins

Brianna Benlolo and Tyler Johnson were killed in a Maryland mall shooting Saturday carried out by a shotgun wielding 19-year-old suburban skater named Darion Marcus Aguilar. Five others injured in the shooting.

Both victims worked at Zumiez, a store that caters to skateboarders and snowboarders, where the 21-year-old Benlolo, was a first assistant manager and the 25-year-old Johnson was a sales associate, the Washington Post reported.

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Benlolo had a two-year-old son whom she reportedly doted on continuously, while Johnson was apparently in the process of turning his life around after overcoming drug addiction.

According to police, Aguilar arrived at the mall in a cab and reportedly lingered in an empty part of the shopping center with his concealed 12-guage shotgun for about an hour before entering the skating shop and opening fire with six to nine shots.

Aguilar had legally purchased the Mossberg shotgun in December, CNN reported.

Authorities have yet to find a motive for the fatal shooting, though a journal recovered by police after they searched the shooter's home revealed Aguilar did "express some general unhappiness with his life," Howard County Police Chief Bill McMahon told reporters Sunday.

At the news conference, police also said there was no apparent connection between the shooter and his victims, but soon after photos surfaced on social media in which it appeared that Benlolo and Aguilar might have known each other.

On Sunday, friends and family of the victims held a vigil near the mall to honor and remember Benlolo and Johnson.

"He was really sweet. If anybody didn’t deserve this, it was him," Paige Kendrix, a friend of Johnson's told the Washington Post.

Having been a former drug addict, Johnson would regularly speak to area youth and provide them with support and advice as to how to best overcome substance abuse, Kendrix added.

"He let them know they didn’t have to go down the road he did, and he was living proof of it," Kendrix said.

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Mourners for Benlolo were also on hand at the vigil.

"She [was] a nice girl. [All] she talked about how much she loves her son and would do anything for him," Preecha Glinsong told the Washington Post having attended several courses at a beauty academy with Benlolo.

"She shouldn’t have died," added a sobbing Destiney Dunn, a friend of Benlolo's who also worked at the mall.

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