Mall shooting in Columbia, Maryland, leaves three dead

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A gunman opened fire at a shopping centre in Maryland in the US, killing two people before apparently taking his own life, police say.

The incident took place at a mall in the Baltimore suburb of Columbia.

The man opened fire at a store in the mall, killing a man and a woman, both employees at the shop, Zumiez, which sells skate accessories and clothing.

Police have named the victims as 21-year-old Brianna Benlolo and 25-year-old Tyler Johnson.

The man believed to be the shooter, who has not been identified, was found dead near a gun and ammunition. A further five people were injured in the incident.

One of those injured was shot. Police said the motive for the attack was still unclear.

Howard County Police Chief Bill McMahon said officers had concerns that the gunman might have been carrying explosives and had proceeded "with an abundance of caution".

Shoppers are evacuated after a fatal shooting at Columbia Mall on January 25, 2014, in Columbia, Maryland People who had taken refuge in shops and restaurants when they heard gunfire were escorted out of the mall after the shooting had ended
Two shoppers leave the Columbia Mall after a fatal shooting on January 25, 2014, in Columbia, Maryland The mall was busy with Saturday shoppers when the incident took place

The centre, about 45 minutes outside Washington DC, is a popular weekend shopping destination.

Shopper Tonya Broughton described the atmosphere as "panic" and said she and her friend headed for a nearby shop.

Shop employees herded everyone to the back, she told Reuters news agency, adding "they were very nice, keeping us calm".

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