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Police Say Aguilar Knew He Was Having Mental Health Issues

Police released more details about Aguilar's handwritten journal Tuesday evening.

Police identified Darion Marcus Aguilar, 19, as the shooter who killed two people and himself at The Mall in Columbia on Saturday. Photo via HCPD.
Police identified Darion Marcus Aguilar, 19, as the shooter who killed two people and himself at The Mall in Columbia on Saturday. Photo via HCPD.

Howard County police said Tuesday that the alleged gunman in the Columbia Mall shooting knew he was having mental issues, according to his journal, which was obtained by police.

Police said the handwritten journal offers "no insight" into whether Darion Marcus Aguilar knew the two victims, Tyler Johnson, 25, of Mount Airy, and Brianna Benlolo, 21, of College Park, who were both employees of the Zumiez skate shop at the mall. Police say Aguilar killed himself after shooting Benlolo and Johnson.

Police said in a tweet they need to do additional interviews before they can release the contents of Aguilar's journal but that they believe, "Aguilar knew he was having mental health issues."

Police Tuesday also distributed a flyer to mall shops, reading:

"Police have learned that Aguilar has frequented The Mall in Columbia and was sometimes seen smoking among small groups of people around the exterior of the mall.

"If you had any contact with Aguilar, saw him around the mall, or have any information about him, please contact police immediately."

Police said via their Twitter account that detectives are investigating Aguilar's cell phone, computer and financial records to determine a motive in the shooting.

The Baltimore Sun reported Tuesday that the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner ruled Aguilar's death a suicide, and that he put the shotgun police said he used in the killings to his mouth and killed himself.

A spokesperson for the medical examiner's office said Benlolo died from shotgun wounds to her neck and chest while Johnson's cause of death was "mutliple gunshot wounds," according to the Sun report.

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JaySmith January 29, 2014 at 06:58 AM
I'm a firm believer in the 2nd amendment and right of people to "bear arms".......but shouldn't most states logically require a gun-buyer to be 21 yrs old? I guess state govts don't 'think' that logically? Md govt in Annap "thinks" SO MUCH and passes SO MANY laws.....you'd think they'd have thought of THAT. Or maybe I'M missing something.
Kennywooder January 29, 2014 at 07:21 AM
This is not a gun control issue. This is a symptom of the mental health treatment crisis in our country. It is easier and cheaper to blame guns than it is to spend the money and commit the time to help people with mental health issues. Watch the 60 Minutes story with Scott Pelly interviewing Cree Deeds this past Sunday. It explains the issue quite clearly.
Nadia Biznis January 29, 2014 at 07:35 AM
In Maryland, rifle and shotgun purchasers need only be 18. And they will likely change that now. Chip, chip, chip away at the rights of the law-abiding, because of the crazy or the criminal. (While simultaneously screaming about the rights of the crazy and the criminal.) Odd that 3 seconds after Jared Loughner and Adam Lanza went on their crazy, murderous sprees the media could tell us all about them. Days later, we're still not finding out much about this guy. It was days before they even released his identity. And I heard a newscaster say that in this nut's writings, he clearly had it in for "certain groups." What groups and why is hidden. If the media weren't acting so suspiciously here, I wouldn't be so curious about their motives.
Dean Smith January 29, 2014 at 07:44 AM
I still feel that it doesn’t make sense that the killer caught a cab from College Park to Columbia Mall (~22 miles) and went to that particular store to randomly kill those people who supposedly didn’t know the shooter. In my opinion, it doesn’t make sense!! However, if the two who got murder didn’t know their killer, I believe the shooter really secretly love (or maybe the proper wording is “lust”) the woman at a distance and have been upset for a period of time that she was interested and/or dating the guy who he murdered. I believe that if the killer didn’t directly go into that store often in the past, I believe he frequently walked past that store while taking looks at her. I say that because based on various news sources, the killer was shy, he visited the mall often, and he had mental issues.
Jessica January 29, 2014 at 08:04 AM
Darion, you were a failure and a waste of life. You went to the mall armed to the teeth and only succeeded in killing two people. Why hasn't this guy's mom provided any more info?
David Zwald January 29, 2014 at 08:39 AM
His parent's don't seem to be part of his life and that is sad. If this is true, I hope everyone will reflect about how so many of our issues are systemic to the absence of two loving parents in the home...a mother AND a father.
MG42 January 29, 2014 at 08:52 AM
He was 19, so he must have graduated high school within the past year or so. None of his teachers saw any signs? Not his parents? Not his coworkers and associates? The least to blame in this case is the firearm. So many people contributed to this killing by not doing anything.
ROBERT SCHROEDER January 29, 2014 at 09:55 AM
Dean, I agree. Look @ all the other sad killings? People shot randam & no target. I feel once the police are done they will find out it was Jealous or maybe revenge, right now everyone [us too] are guessing, but when this first happened II thought it was one of those reason. Also why did they say he was seen on the outside then now it is like he waiting for them to show up for work. So sad, my prayers go to all of them.
dwb January 29, 2014 at 10:36 AM
An 18 year old is an adult. vote, drive, go to Iraq and die. This has nothing to do with his age, he was having mental health problems. If you are having mental health problems, don't blog or journal about it. Don't go buy gasoline to burn your parents place down, or buy a weapon. Don't step in front of a train, or take drugs to self-medicate. Don't go to a bar, get drunk, and kill people driving home. Go see a professional.
Sheila January 29, 2014 at 10:46 PM
It is stigma from judgmental people who use terms such as "crazy" and "nuts" that prevent people from getting the help they need, reaching out for help means subjecting themselves to the ignorance of society. Choose your words wisely when you speak.
Jessica January 30, 2014 at 09:09 AM
How about "failure" and "waste of life"? I think those words pretty accurately describe him if you ask me. Who cares if he was mental?

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