World & Nation

Maryland mall shooter wrote in journal that he was ‘ready to die’

The skateboarder who killed two skate shop employees and himself at a Maryland mall last weekend wrote in his journal that he hated other people and wanted to die, police said Wednesday.

Howard County police still have not figured out whether Darion Marcus Aguilar, 19, knew his victims, Brianna Benlolo, 21, of College Park, and Tyler Johnson, 25, of Mount Airy. Aguilar lived in College Park with his mother. 

Police said this week that Aguilar used to hang out at The Mall in Columbia -- the shopping center in Columbia, Md., where the shooting occurred -- and smoke in small groups. Quy Le Vo, an employee of the shop where Aguilar’s victims worked, told the Baltimore Sun he had seen him in the store before but didn’t remember anything specific about his visits.

One former friend and classmate who used to skateboard with Aguilar previously told the Los Angeles Times that Aguilar may have bought his skating clothes from the shop, Zumiez.


It was in the Zumiez dressing room where Aguilar apparently took pieces of a 12-gauge shotgun out of his backpack and assembled it, according to investigative details released over Twitter from the county police’s account over the last few days.

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Investigators “believe Aguilar exited the Zumiez dressing room, shot the two victims and then himself,” Howard County police said in a tweet, adding that at one point Aguilar stepped out in front of the store and fired, hitting a 49-year-old Hanover woman in the foot.

The motive for the attack remains unclear. But on Wednesday, police released more details from Aguilar’s journal.


“Aguilar indicates he thought he needed a mental health professional, but never told his family. He also mentions using marijuana,” the police said in one tweet, which was the first in a series.

“Aguilar expresses thoughts of wanting to die and says he is ready to die. He expresses a general hatred of others.”

“Aguilar mentions killing people, but in general terms. He does not mention the victims, or any other specific person.”

“Aguilar does not mention targeting specific people, locations, ethnicities or groups.”

“Aguilar expresses that his plan is set, but does not indicate what he’s referring to.”

“In his writings, Aguilar expresses apology to his family for what he is planning to do.”

The shooting came as a shock to former classmates and his mother, according to interviews.

Shortly after the attack, a woman who identified herself as Aguilar’s mother told a WNEW radio reporter, “He never had a gun before, never been interested in guns, never been interested in anything like that.”


She refused to give her name but added: “If you were to go into his room, you would see what a gentle, sweet kid he was. ... I don’t know what happened; I really don’t. It’s so unusual; you can talk to any of his friends to find out what a gentle person he was.”

Aguilar bought his shotgun legally about a month before the attack.

The mall has reopened. Zumiez remains closed.