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    Shootings in Maryland mall leaves three dead

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    Originally published on January 26, 2014

    A gunman fatally shot two employees of a skate shop in a shopping mall in Maryland, U.S. on January 25 before killing himself.

    The shootings took place on the upper floor of the Mall in Columbia at around 11:00am on Saturday, as many weekend shoppers visited the shopping arcade.

    The assailant entered Zumiez, a shop selling clothing and accessories for skateboarding and snowboarding, and gunned down two staff members. Another male body was found near the bodies of the victims, and it appeared that the shooter killed himself with a shotgun. An unidentified law enforcement official told The Washington Post that the gun used was a 12-gauge pump-action Mossberg shotgun.

    Heavily armed officers arrived at the scene where they discovered two crude explosive devices from fireworks in the bag carried by the gunman. The devices were defused.

    It seemed that the shooter only targeted at the two shopkeepers. The victims were identified as Brianna Benlolo, a 21-year-old assistant manager of the store and Tyler Johnson, 25. The Washington Post reported that the two did not seem to socialize much with each other.

    "There are still a lot of details we need to confirm," Police Chief William J. McMahon said. While authorities said they had tentatively identified the gunman, but his name was not released. His motives or whether he had any relationships with the employees remained unknown.

    Five other people were wound and most of them suffered from minor injuries while making their escapes. However, one female victim was shot in the foot when she was on the lower level of the mall right below Zumiez.

    Police closed down the mall and conducted a search for possible accomplices, but they later concluded that the shooter acted alone. The arcade will remain shut down on Sunday.

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