COLUMBIA, Md. (AP) - Someone armed with a gun opened fire at a busy shopping mall in suburban Baltimore on Saturday, sending store employees and customers scrambling for cover. Police said three people died, including the person believed to be the shooter, in an apparent murder-suicide.
The attack took place at a skate shop called Zumiez on the upper level of the Mall in Columbia, a suburb of both Baltimore and Washington, according to Howard County Police.
Someone called 911 at around 11:15 a.m. to report a shooting at the mall. Police responded to the scene and found three people dead, including one person who was found near a gun and ammunition. No details were released about their identities. Police said they had confirmed the identity of one victim.
Howard County General Hospital has confirmed it is treating another person for a gunshot wound to the foot, county police said via Twitter.
The mall is at the center of the town and typically opens at 10 a.m. on Saturdays. It was busy with shoppers and employees when shots rang out before noon, sending scores of people scampering to find the nearest hiding place. Many found cover in backrooms of stores and barricaded themselves in until police arrived.
Joan Harding of Elkridge, Md., was shopping with her husband, David, for a tiara for their granddaughter's 18th birthday. She said she heard something heavy falling, followed by gunshots and people running.
"My husband said, 'Get down!' and the girl that worked in the store said, 'Get in the back,' " Harding said. That is where they hid until police searched the mall and signaled it was safe to leave.
At a news conference, Howard County Police Chief William J. McMahon said police are relatively confident that there was only one shooter.
"We don't know a motive yet," McMahon said. "We are very confident that it was a single shooter, and there was not another shooter in the mall."