Columbia Mall Shooting Stole 'Devoted Mom' From Her Little Boy

Columbia mall shootingAs police continue to sift through the witness accounts of the shooting at the The Mall in Columbia on Saturday, the identities of the three dead have come out. The suspected gunman has been identified as Darion Marcus Aguilar, just 19 years old. The shooting victims are Brianna Benlolo, 21, and Tyler Johnson, 25, both workers at a Zumiez Skate Shop.

Both were much too young to die, and now it's come out that Brianna, the store's manager, leaves behind a young son. Described as a "devoted mom," this was reportedly Benlolo's first job since giving birth to a now 2-year-old boy.

A 2-year-old boy who has been left without a mother.

The senselessness of these shootings that continue to happen in America is hard enough to get past, but I can't get the picture of a little boy crying for his mommy out of my mind. Brianna didn't deserve to die, and her little guy deserved to have his Mom come home from work on Saturday night and cuddle him. He deserves to have her there for t-ball games and kindergarten graduation and every other milestone from which she's been stolen by a monster with a gun and -- according to cops -- some homemade explosives.

There have been myriad reports speculating some link between Aguilar, Johnson, and Benlolo, but so far cops have not verified any of them. The young mother's grandfather was reached by media and he said she is on "good terms" with the father of her little boy, with whom she shares custody. That gives me hope that at least the little guy has a dad out there who will be there for his son, but is that really enough?

My heart goes out to this little boy and to his father both, as well as the rest of the Benlolo and Johnson families, and to the Aguilar family as well.

How do we stop these tragedies?


Image via Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

crime, guns


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Saras... Sarasahmof3

How do we stop these tragedies? You don't, not really, you raise your children to have good morals, good manners, and faith. There are monsters out there and they look like you and me. But if enough of us raise good strong adults who care for each other with good morals, good manners, and faith in another person's moral and manners. It maybe reduced. Gun control is not the answer.  It never was the answer. We need better mental health care...we need to stop making it taboo.  This person went into this mall to kill one way or another. He was sick....mentally sick or just plain evil. We may never get a real answer.

Ridin... Ridingsolo

This is so sad.  :(  My son is almost 2, and one of my biggest fears is that something might happen to me before he is grown up and on his own.  :(  I pray her little boy adjusts and is not scarred forever by her loss.  So senseless. 

Robcat21 Robcat21

I know. I never thought about my mortality until I became a mother. Because dads and grandparents, aunts, uncles, and family are great but let's face it, no one loves you like your mother. The sad thing is, that little boy is probably too young to hold onto any memories of his mother. My prayers go out to the families.

Austi... Austinsmommy12

Stories like these make me want to never leave my house again. What the @$&* is wrong with people nowadays??

nonmember avatar alyssa

The shooter was the father of the 2 year old boy and ex boyfriend of Briana. Briana was engaged to the other person who was shot. Apparently the shooter wasn't ok with it and killed them both before killing himself. So this child is left with no parents at all. So tragic

sterl... sterling21

@alyssa where did you hear that scenario?

I think all the toxins, pollution, poor nutrition and media violence has caught up with us. We don't need to worry abouth the effect those things have in the future, because the future is here and its ugly. Three young people gone in a flash of violence, so tragic for the families.

aajm-... aajm-momma

The focus needs to be on mental health. EVERYBODY needs to be schooled on warning signs and mental health. Stop blaming EVERYTHING else and allow the gun men or women to be held accountable....meaning dont glorify them in the media or make them a martyr. Report the story and let the gun man or woman go and focus the story on the VICTIMS

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