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At least three dead, several injured in Maryland mall shooting

Three people have been shot dead at a mall in Columbia, Maryland, Howard County Police confirmed. Police now report that the attacker has been shot dead. As the active shooting situation in the mall, which typically  opens at 10:00 am EST on Saturdays unfolded, police told  customers to remain inside stores. It is not yet known how many  shoppers or workers are at the scene.

The entire mall was in lockdown, Howard County fire officials  said. Information on injuries has not yet been reported, but  local media reports say that there could be three people injured.

Police have confirmed that one of the victims was found near a  gun and ammunition, indicating that they were trying to defend  themselves.

We thought it was construction because there’s a lot of  construction going on at the mall right now. Then I heard it  again. Like boom, boom, boom,” Colin Reddy, who works at the  mall, told CNN.

And then everybody started running,” he added.

Eyewitnesses described a chaotic scene.

“All of a sudden I heard…it sounded like someone dropped  something. And all of a sudden I see people, fall; three people  fall to the ground. And all I see is people going down to the  floor and running,”a woman who works as a hairdresser in the  Mall told CNN.

The scene was “believed to be secure” police said in a tweet  issued at about 12:36 p.m.

There were reports in local media of a heavy police presence in  the mall, with helicopters overhead. Officers were said to search  the trunks of cars parked in the adjoining lot.

The mall is situated in Columbia’s center. The town has a  population of about 100,000 people and is 24 miles from  Washington D.C.

Random shootings have occurred with disturbing regularity in the  US in recent years. One of the most shocking was the shooting at  Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut in December  2012, where twenty children and six adult staff were shot dead.

Since then, there have been plans to provide schools with  resource officers – a law enforcement officer who has the  authority to make arrests and carry a weapon in school. However,  plans to radically change America’s gun laws have so far proved  largely fruitless, due to the strength of the US gun lobby.




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