Police Seek Information From Public on Md. Mall Shooter

Wednesday, Jan 29, 2014  |  Updated 10:47 AM EDT
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A taxi company tells News4 one of their drivers had contacted police after allegedly dropping off Darion Aguilar at the Columbia Mall Saturday. The driver said Aguilar was

Erika Gonzalez

A taxi company tells News4 one of their drivers had contacted police after allegedly dropping off Darion Aguilar at the Columbia Mall Saturday. The driver said Aguilar was "weird looking."

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Police are hoping the public can help them gather more information on a Maryland man who killed two people at a suburban D.C. mall before shooting himself Saturday.

Officers spent Tuesday distributing flyers to shoppers and employees at The Mall of Columbia, asking for any information on suspected shooter Darion Aguilar. 

"Police have learned that Aguilar frequented The Mall of Columbia and was sometimes seen smoking among small groups of people...,'' the flyer reads, "If you had any contact with Aguilar, saw him around the mall, or have information about him, call police immediately."

A source at Barwood Taxi Service told News4's Erika Gonzalez that one of its drivers called police after the shooting Saturday to report that he'd dropped off "a weird-looking guy" at the mall. The driver claims he picked Aguilar up in Burtonsville, just over 8 miles away from the mall.

Howard County police have not confirmed that cab company's story.

Investigators are still trying to figure out why Aguilar was in Burtonsville since he lived and worked in the College Park area.

The police department also tweeted out a plea for information that may lead them to a motive in the deadly shooting. 

 

Aguilar was identified Sunday as the man who shot and killed Brianna Benlolo, 21, and Tyler Johnson, 25, inside the Zumiez  store on Jan. 25. Aguilar died of an apparently self-inflicted gunshot wound, police said.

One other person was shot and injured and four people were hurt as shoppers rushed to find shelter in the chaos after the shooting.

Police still have no motive or known connection between the 19-year-old gunman and the two victims.

Howard County Police Chief William McMahon said while there has been speculation about a romantic relationship between the gunman and Benlolo, investigators have not been able to establish such a connection. 

As part of their investigation, police said they were analyzing Aguilar's cell phone and home computer, though no new information has been discovered, and are also reviewing his financial records. Police also distributed a flyer around the mall with Aguilar's photo to elicit information.

Authorities said Tuesday that they were not prepared to release the contents of a journal found in  Aguilar's home, which they have previously said expressed general feelings of sadness, but posted on Twitter that "Aguilar knew he was having mental health issues.'' Police spokeswoman Sherry Llewellyn said detectives were still interviewing people who knew Aguilar and did not want to be more specific on mental health while those interviews were taking place.

Ellis Cropper, a family friend who is serving as a family spokesman, said he didn't know anything about Aguilar having mental health issues, but declined to comment further and said Aguilar's mother did not want him doing any more interviews.

Bruce Goldfarb, a spokesman for the state medical examiner's office, said Tuesday that the gunman stuck the weapon in his mouth and died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound. One victim, 21-year-old Brianna Benlolo, died from gunshot wounds to the neck and chest, and the second victim, 25-year-old Tyler Johnson, also suffered multiple gunshot wounds, Goldfarb said.


 

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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