Shooting In Columbia Mall: 3 Dead Including GunmanBy: Alex Williams - January 25, 2014
Three people including the gunman have died in a shooting in Columbia Mall in Howard County, Maryland, Howard County Police said. The mall is planted in the center of the town, a suburb shared by both Washington and Baltimore.
Police arrived on the scene after a call came in at 11:15 AM on Saturday that reported shots were fired. Three bodies were discovered with one located near a gun and ammunition. As of 12:30 PM, the police said that no additional information concerning addition shots heard were followed after the initial gunfire.
According to CBS, customers were asked to remain inside stores as it was placed under lock-down and searched by police who were looking for the shooter.
Both Howard County Fire and Emergency Management Services wrote in tweets that police and emergency personnel were on the scene. Both services urged people to avoid the area.
Customers have been ushered out of the mall as police finalize securing the area and further investigate.
According to NBC news, a security spokesman at the mall said that the mall was closed and the “situation may be over.” NBCWashington.com reported that a father whose daughter was in the mall told him on the phone that she was taking cover inside a Bank of America where dozens of others were hiding.
Shots were fired from the J.C Penny outlet of the mall, according to Ari Ashe of WTOP.
With helicopters buzzing overhead, Ashe said at least 100 police officers from Howard, Anne Arundel, and Montgomery Counties, as well as the Maryland State Police SWAT units and officers in fatigues were swarming the malls.
“Most of the mall had been taped off… it is locked down fully.” Ashe said.
A man who was having lunch with his family in the mall’s food court told WTOP that he heard four shots – “one shot, then two more, then a final one.” The people around him “huddled under a table” and then “booked it out of there.”
The man suspects that the shooting happened in the mall’s lower level. “It was kind of surreal. You hear about it on TV and you don’t think you’re going to be a part of it.” He said.