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January 26, 2014

Three dead in mall shooting

(Continued)

COLUMBIA, Md. —

The mall was closed to the public as police looked in each store for people who might still be hiding, McMahon said. It will remain closed at least through the night.

McMahon said it wasn’t clear whether the gunman and victims knew each other. He said officers did not fire any shots when they arrived at the scene. Asked if the gunman shot himself, the chief answered: “That is certainly what it appears to be at this point.”

Tonya Broughton of Silver Spring, Md., was with a friend getting facials for a “girls’ morning out,” she said. “The only thing I heard was all the people running and screaming and saying ‘There’s a shooter! There’s a shooter!”’ she said.

Wearing a gel face mask, she and her friend hid in a Victoria’s Secret store.

People were directed out of the mall and into a parking lot, where some boarded a bus and others walked toward their cars. Some people were seen crying. McMahon said detectives were interviewing witnesses as they emerged from the mall.

Laura McKindles of Columbia works at a kiosk in the mall. She said she heard between eight and 10 gunshots, followed by people running and screaming. She ran into the backroom of a perfume store and locked the door.

Allison Cohen, who works at the apparel store Lucky Brand Jeans, said she always felt safe at the mall.

“I truly never thought something like this would ever happen here,” Cohen said. “It’s really, really shocking.”

———

Associated Press writers Jessica Gresko and Martin Di Caro in Washington contributed to this report.

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