Mall Shooting Victims: A Mom, a Nice Neighbor

Brianna Benlolo, 21, of College Park, Md., and Tyler Johnson, 25, of Mt, Airy, Md. were shot and killed Saturday

The two people killed at Columbia Mall in suburban Washington, D.C., Saturday were young co-workers at a skate shop popular with teens -- and one was a store manager raising a 2-year-old child.

Details about their lives are beginning to emerge as the investigation into Saturday's deadly shooting at the Maryland mall continues.

Brianna Benlolo, 21, of College Park, Md., and Tyler Johnson, 25, of Mt. Airy, Md. were shot and killed inside the Zumiez store where they worked, police said.

The suspected gunman, Darion Marcus Aguilar, of College Park, died at the scene of an apparent gunshot wound.

Brianna Benlolo

Benlolo had a 2-year-old son, said her housemate, Corey Lewis. Lewis called her "a wonderful mom and a wonderful person."

He said she had lived in the College Park house for about two months.

Benlolo's grandfather, John Feins, told The Associated Press in a telephone interview from Florida that his granddaughter's job at Zumiez was her first since she went back to work after her son's birth.

"She was all excited," he said.

He said he had spoken with his daughter, Brianna's mother, earlier in the day, but didn't know who the gunman was or whether the person knew his granddaughter.

He described his daughter's family as a military family that had moved frequently and had been in Colorado before moving to Maryland about two years ago. He said his granddaughter was on good terms with her son's father, and they shared custody.

"I mean what can you say? You go to work and make a dollar and you got some idiot coming in and blowing people away," he said.

Tyler Johnson

Tyler Johnson had recently moved to Mt. Airy from Ellicott City, Md.

"It's a parent's worse nightmare. You don't realize it until you're in the middle of it," Johnson's uncle, George Sliker, said of his nephew's death. "He was just unfortunately at work, which for kids these days is a good place to be."

Sliker decribed his nephew as shy, a good kid, who was volunteering with an organization in Mt. Airy that helped people addicted to drugs.

"The people there thought a lot of him, you know. They thought that this was his calling even."

A neighbor in Mt. Airy said he was stunned to hear that his quiet neighbor was the victim of the shooting.

"Floored -- had no idea," said Gregg Todd. "I didn't even that know he worked in the mall. Our thoughts and prayers are with the family -- very nice, very quiet, very good family."

On Johnson's Facebook page, he was frank about his process in recovery, announcing celebrations of his one and two years of sobriety. He started working at Zumiez in November 2013.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Contact Us