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Maryland mall shooter 'obsessed' with killings at Columbine

Maryland mall shooting

MARRIOTTSVILLE, Md. (AP) - The gunman who killed two people at a Maryland mall appeared obsessed with mass murder and was fascinated by the 1999 Columbine High School shooting, dressing like one of the shooters and timing his attack so that it occurred about the same time as the Colorado massacre, police said Wednesday.

Howard County Police Chief William J. McMahon said during a news conference that investigators found no indication that 19-year-old Darion Aguilar knew the victims of the Jan. 25 shooting at The Mall in Columbia. Aguilar killed himself inside the mall soon after the shootings.

Investigators found thousands of searches on Aguilar's computer related to mass murder, school shootings, guns and explosives. He also looked up websites for people with mental health problems, and he told a doctor he was hearing voices in the months before the shooting.

Several pieces of information led police to believe Aguilar may have had a fixation with the shooting at Columbine, where two students killed 12 classmates and a teacher and wounded 26 others before killing themselves in the school's library. Police believe Aguilar may have waited inside the mall for over 40 minutes in order to begin his shooting at about the same time of day that the Columbine massacre started. He also downloaded a video game based on the Columbine killing, though it's not clear if he played it, McMahon said.

Aguilar showed "a particular fascination with the Columbine shooting," McMahon said.

Just before he emerged from the dressing room of the Zumiez skateboarding and snowboarding store to begin the shooting, Aguilar took a picture of himself in the mirror and posted it to the social media website Tumblr. Some of way he is dressed, wearing a white T-shirt, boots and cargo pants with his shotgun in a sling around him, is reminiscent of one of the Columbine killers, McMahon said.

"I had to do this. Today is the day," Aguilar wrote in a post with the photo, adding that he woke up and "felt no emotions no empathy no sympathy."

McMahon said investigators believe Aguilar took the picture to gain notoriety and intended for police to find it and show it to the public.

"We're not going to help him have that notoriety," McMahon said in explaining why police did not release that photo Wednesday.

Police did release a different picture Aguilar took of himself holding the shotgun he used in the shooting, a picture believed to have been taken in his bedroom.

McMahon also talked about what has been described as Aguilar's "journal." McMahon said what police discovered was about 20 handwritten loose-leaf pages in roughly chronological order. In a portion police released, Aguilar makes an angry, expletive-laced statement in which he anticipates the killings in "a couple of hours."

"Everything seems fake. I think that I may already be dead," he wrote.

At another point in the papers, he acknowledged he needed to see a psychiatrist, McMahon said.

Aguilar told a doctor in April that he was hearing voices, but they were "nonviolent and nonspecific," the chief said. The doctor referred him to a psychiatrist, but police could not find that Aguilar ever met with one. McMahon said the doctor told police he later followed up with Aguilar's mother, but she does not remember the conversation.

A review of Aguilar's Internet searches found visits to mental health sites, including ones for people considering suicide.

"He knows he's sick. He knows he has problems that need to be addressed. He writes it in his journal. He writes in his journal he's not comfortable talking to his mother about it," McMahon said, adding that there was no indication he ever spoke with anyone about his concerns.

Police said they released more information about the case in an effort to bring closure for the community, including the families of Aguilar's victims, 21-year-old Brianna Benlolo and 25-year-old Tyler Johnson. They were both Zumiez employees.

McMahon said the investigation is continuing, though no new significant information is expected.

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javilaus March 13 2014 at 9:44 AM

Another reason why the media shouldn't give these wackos so much lime light. Shooters should remain annonymous, they should only release the victims identities.

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copprhead March 13 2014 at 12:30 PM

The news needs to stop posting thses type stories they are just giving the idiots Ideas.

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1 reply
orion15stars copprhead March 13 2014 at 1:40 PM

You mean they need stop embarrassing you when reporting how lethal firearms worshipping and ultra liberal free flow of legal lethal firearms actually are. When people irrationally drone this NRA propagandized mantra, "Guns don't kill. People do.". they can't possibly rationally critically thinking this bald faced truth instead, "People with firearms kill people with bullets and shot from firearms." After all, bullets and shot can't fire themselves without firearms, and bullets and shot are actually doing the massive US firearms violence killing and injuring of people using firearms to fire off bullets and shot.

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Jerry Monroe March 13 2014 at 2:43 AM

Sad thing is the sick Arian satanic cult jerk-offs worship the devil and they hate and think they will rule in hell with Satan. So they sensationalize their killings as much as possible and try to out kill and popularize the last killer. Bunch of jerk losers: They will be surprised when they are in hell and they are tormented day and night and there is no rest into outer darkness and flames. All the people in hell right now know its true and those who didn't believe in it now believe. Jesus was right. Repent! Before its to late. Tomorrow is promised to no one,.......

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ultra96 March 13 2014 at 12:03 PM

The Media coverage of terrible and tragic events, extends the 15 minutes of infamy into days and weeks of coverage. This has a great deal of impact on the sick minds that feed on these events. The rash of copy-cats that follow should serve as a warning but the "WORLDS NEED TO KNOW" trumps all manner of sanity. Pass a law that forbids excessive coverage of these horrific events and they will diminish. First it has nothing at all to do with "News" its about money and market share and our MEDIA bottom feeders fight to get the bloodiest photos and facts. Keep feeding this sickness to the public and the results will continue to be more and greater events.

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1 reply
jnogrimes ultra96 March 13 2014 at 12:24 PM

I totally agree.

The media needs to turn off the celebrity engine. Stop making celebrities out of them. Stop reporting on their diaries, blogs and Internet chats. Stop reporting every whispered comment you can pay their neighbors to make. Stop reporting on their shoe size, what they liked for lunch, what shampoo they use...

Just stop humanizing them in a mindless attempt to understand them - the media is 'normalizing' mass murdering behavior.

Instead, show miserable looking people in flak jackets surrounded by mean looking cops and taken from a distance as they're hustled in and out of court. Don't use their name, call them Suspect #1 in the XXX killings.

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2 replies
vrf19977 jnogrimes March 13 2014 at 12:54 PM

Absolutely agree. These poor, sick people want nothing more than to be "remembered" and go out in a blaze of glory, with their name and picture posted all over the place.

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orion15stars jnogrimes March 13 2014 at 12:59 PM

That won't stop anything. It's highly irrational to presume it would. What both of you demand is for the media to stop embarrassing you, by exposing how the sociopathic profiteers of NRA and firearms manufacturing glorify the firearm. You both bought that lethal logical fallacy hook, line and sinker without question.

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yaya5571 March 13 2014 at 11:34 AM

if the media would stop putting these idiots on every outlet and focus on the ones hurt that would be a great start. i get so tired of seeing the ones who did these things for months even years after the fact. put the people who where hurt don't even mention the idiots name who did it. they want their fame no matter what. the media makes sure we remember the name of the crazy person. of course they are crazy a sane person would not take a life peroid. we should put in a fast lane on death roll and no plea of not guilty due to mental issues.

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Steve & Sandy March 13 2014 at 11:43 AM

Weak, stupid people walk the present day.

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1 reply
orion15stars Steve & Sandy March 13 2014 at 1:33 PM

He stongly appeared to have schizophrenia, and no one was actually paying attention or helping him help himself. After all, he very likely couldn't afford the cost of psychiatric help and proper medication. in order to stablize his out-of-control organic system. He was born that way. He wasn't rational enough to continue to seek what he couldn't afford himself. With schizophrenia comes symptomatic bi-polar, depression, and out-of-control behavior without fail. It requires a great deal of support and help, including financial help, from family, friends and the community in general.

Now try genuinely protesting against the sociopathic profiteers of NRA, firearms manufacturing, and Congress. He couldn't have killed with a firearm if laws made it mandatory to keep all firearms out of the reach, including keeping them out of the homes of those most likely to be visited, of those incapable of controlling their own behavior, through no fault of their own. The same applies to those who can control their behavior and choose not to do so - keep them completely away from those people as well.

Psychopathy and sociopathic aren't mental illnesses (i.e Darion Aguilar), developmental brain disabilities (i.e Adam Lanza), or emotional disorders such as some type of neurosis or psychosis (i.e. bigoted, paranoid George Zimmerman). It's complete lack of any conscience because no conscience was developed by the age of 7, or the potential to brain develop a conscience was completely lacking during the fetal stage of development. There is no fixing or curing psychopathy or sociopathy. They are always danger to society at large. The worst lethal threat is the sociopath - homicidal and white collar (NRA, firearms manufacturers, all Wall Street white collar, heads of mutinational corporations, including Halliburton, Xe formerly known as Blackwater, etc.)

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1 reply
slackwarerobert orion15stars March 14 2014 at 12:53 PM

Not a problem, it is called PRISON. Put him where he can't hurt anyone.
It was the STATE banning everyone else from having a gun that is the problem.
A 45 hollow point will cure his mental problems before he goes on a rampage.

It is you liberals that won't lock him up, and disarm everyone else.

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bryanmerrittper2 March 13 2014 at 11:35 AM

I have been saying all along these idiots want to have themselves on tv and the news for weeks and months at a time. That's why they do this stuff.

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1 reply
EricS bryanmerrittper2 March 13 2014 at 11:55 AM

That's certainly part of it. In this age of technology and media frenzy, it's an insecure, mentally disturbed person's 15 min of fame. The classic case of "no one sees me, but this will make them notice". The media's practice of sensationalism to garner ratings (profits), and the quick to post mentality of people, leaves a platform for people like this. In a sense, if we post/re-post without thinking, we contribute to these acts. Even if it's indirectly.

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Reb March 13 2014 at 8:15 AM

As long as the news media continues to sensationalize each and every shooting that is not gang related, there will continue to be those killing others just so the shooters can make a name for themselves. Just once I would like to see them report a shooting without all they hype that they dig up and at the end, just mention the fact that, although a shooter took a gun and needlessly killed others, thee were over 100 million gun owners that did not kill anyone.

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madfam004 March 13 2014 at 9:47 AM

The problem with people like him with mental illness is that nothing can be done until after they follow through with their goal, and by than it is jus too late to do anything to stop it. By law, mental heath professionals can not legally report it and nor the public since the person in question has not broken any laws like murder.

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2 replies
Bebe madfam004 March 13 2014 at 11:46 AM

Quite correct, so we need to change the laws to make it easier to commit dangerous people and lock them up in a secure place where they can't harm anybody. If it's possible to treat their illnesses and make them well, we should do that, too!

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slackwarerobert madfam004 March 14 2014 at 1:49 PM

But you CAN repeal the laws that stop OTHERS from carrying a gun to stop him when he starts shooting, not when he has no one left to shoot.
Just look at the naval yard shooter. sitting on the top landing, armor piercing rounds would go through the floor without the need to go out into his line of fire. We HAVE the solutions to these shooters if government would quit banning them.

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jpweg5 March 13 2014 at 8:35 AM

I don't believe it happened, not with the gun controls they have Marylandstan .

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1 reply
JOHN jpweg5 March 13 2014 at 8:40 AM

I live in MD. Its still easy to buy a gun. So, SPECIFICALLY, what gun controls do you refer to?

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1 reply
gottabewv JOHN March 13 2014 at 10:54 AM

John, he may be referring to the restrictive type gun sales and the fact that Maryland is pretty much on the verge of a communist state when it comes to carrying a concealed weapon. Good thing Maryland has these laws in place so things like this can't happen! Well… maybe they can pin the ticket on his coffin before they sink him six feet? Or, knowing Maryland, they will probably make his family responsible for paying the fine for him breaking the CCC law!

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