About two-and-a-half hours after the fatal shooting Saturday morning at The Mall in Columbia, Md., the accused gunman’s mother reported him missing, though no connection to the shooting was known.
Darion Aguilar, 19, was considered a quiet kid at Hubert Blake High School in Montgomery County, from which he graduated last year. He enjoyed swimming at a recreation center in Silver Spring and worked at a Dunkin Donuts on Route 1 in College Park, which is where his mother went to find him Saturday.
“He left the house for work, and at some point, for whatever reason, his mother went up to the restaurant to find out where her son was,” said Julie Parker of Prince George’s County police. “At that point, when he wasn’t at the store, she called the Prince George’s County Police Department.”
The search for Aguilar escalated after his mother showed officers his journal. Police have not said what in that journal caught their attention.
“The journal made him concerned about the missing person’s safety,” Parker said.
Detectives tracked Aguilar’s cellphone signal to Columbia Mall.
“It’s soon learned that our missing person and the gunman were one in the same,” Parker said.
Aguilar is accused of shooting and killing two employees of the Zumiez store inside Columbia Mall before turning the gun on himself.
Later that afternoon, Prince George’s County Fire and EMS searched Aguilar’s house for possible explosives before Howard County police searched the home for clues.
“Our responsibility at that point was to go in and clear the house to make sure it was safe for others to enter,” said Mark Brady of Prince George’s County Fire and EMS.
It wasn’t the fire department’s first visit to the house. They were called there in May 2013 for an attic fire. Aguilar was home at the time, and the fire was ruled an accidental electrical fire.
“Nothing significant was noted about him or the family or the fire,” Brady said.
Police have yet to find a motive for the shooting.
Former classmates of the accused Mall in Columbia gunman described him as a quiet student they would never expect to do something like Saturday morning’s shooting.
“He didn’t say much,” Dakota Kingrey said. “He was just chill.”
“He seemed like a really chill guy,” former classmate Jeffrey Videz said. “You’d never expect him to do what he did.”
Aguilar reportedly was accepted into Montgomery College after graduation but did not attend, deciding to work instead.
“It seemed like to me he didn’t care much about school,” former classmate Kevin Wright said. “He didn’t care much about his school life. You wouldn’t really expect him to take his life or anyone else’s.”