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Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Maryland Gunman Wrote in Diary About Killing People

For more than a year, the 19-year-old gunman who opened fire at a shopping mall in Columbia, Md., last Saturday, killing two skateboard store employees, made sporadic references in his journal about killing people and showed awareness that he struggled with mental illness, police officials said Wednesday.

But he did not mention either victim in his writings. Nor did he offer clues about why he chose the mall to execute his plan.

On its Twitter account and Facebook page, the Howard County Police Department released details Wednesday about the journal entries from Darion Marcus Aguilar, raising more questions than answers. Mr. Aguilar, who lived with his mother in College Park, Md., committed suicide after the shootings.

On Facebook, the police department published:

He indicates he thought he needed a mental health professional, but never told his family. He also mentions using marijuana.

He expresses thoughts of wanting to die, says he is ready to die, and has a general hatred of others.

Aguilar mentions killing people, but in general terms. He does not mention the victims, or any other person. He does not mention targeting specific people, locations, ethnicities or groups.

He expresses that his plan is set, but does not indicate what he’s referring to. Included in his writings is an apology to his family for what he is planning to do.

The police department also posted a burst of Twitter updates offering more details from the investigation.

As my colleague Emma G. Fitzsimmons reported, the victims, Brianna Benlolo, 21, and Tyler Johnson, 25, worked at Zumiez, a skateboarding and snowboarding store on the second floor of the mall.

Ms. Benlolo was an assistant manager at the store and the mother of a young son. Mr. Johnson had worked at the store only since November. He was active in a local 12-step program and visited a high school to warn students about the dangers of drugs.

Mr. Aguilar, who graduated from high school last year, was working at a Dunkin’ Donuts store near his home. A family spokesman told WBAL-TV in Baltimore on Tuesday that his family saw absolutely no warning signs.