MSA Intel

A shooting at the Columbia Mall in Howard County, Maryland in the suburbs of both Baltimore and Washington, D.C. resulted in three fatalities and five injuries. Two of the deceased, Brianna Benlolo, 21, and Tyler Johnson, 25, were mall employees of the Zumiez store. The third is believed to be the shooter, whose name is still being withheld at this time. The five injured have since been released from the hospital.

The mall, which houses about 200 stores, was open to shoppers when the shots were fired at approximately 11:45am. The shooting was contained to the one store on the second level. The shooter, armed with a shotgun and carrying additional ammunition, opened fire multiple times before fatally shooting himself. The motive remains unclear; however, initial investigations attribute the shooting to a possible domestic dispute. The mall, believed to have contained thousands at the time of the shooting, initiated a lockdown procedure and customers and mall employees sheltered in place. Police and firefighters, as well as other agencies, arrived on the scene and began to clear the building, allowing small groups of controlled people to evacuate. Additionally, explosive ordinance disposal technicians took precautions to ensure there were no explosives on site. It took approximately five hours to clear the entire facility.

MSA's Research and Intelligence Analysis (RIA) Group has been monitoring this situation closely and has identified the following implications:
  • Emergency contingency plans were implemented quickly to facilitate the lockdown and shelter-in-place measures.
  • The mall’s close proximity to the nation’s capital also allowed for swift law enforcement and government agency response.
  • As at least one injury is being attributed to panic; the responses likely helped to quell the chaotic crowd and prevent further injuries.
  • The increased frequency of gun related violence is part of an ongoing nationwide trend that have security and emergency management professionals developing, coordinating, and executing new safety procedures.
  • Fatalities can be mitigated with a well-known and rehearsed, comprehensive emergency action plan.  


MSA Security's RIA Group provides real-time intelligence on events and worldwide threats as they evolve.

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