Saturday - 1/25/2014, 1:08pm ETNo further information is available right now.
WASHINGTON - Howard County Police say that three people have been killed in a shooting at the Columbia Mall.
Police have not identified any of the victims, but say that one of the dead is the suspected shooter. They say that they believe the mall is secure, but that people inside should wait for word from the police.
Spokeswoman Denise Weist, of the Howard County Fire and Rescue Department, says the department received the call at about 11:15 a.m. Saturday.
WTOP's Ari Ashe, on the scene, says the report said that the shots were coming from the JC Penney.
Ashe says at least 100 police officers have descended on the mall from Howard, Anne Arundel and Montgomery Counties, as well as the Maryland State Police. SWAT units and officers in fatigues were walking around the scene and helicopters were flying overhead.
Police and fire units are "everywhere you look," Ashe says. "Most of the mall has been taped off ... It is locked down fully."
One man who was in the food court at the time told WTOP that he was having lunch with his family when he heard four shots - "one shot, then two more, then a final one." He says he and his group "huddled under a table" and then "booked it out of there."
His guess is that the shooting happened on the lower level. "It was kind of surreal," he said, adding that he froze for a moment at first. "You hear about it on TV and you don't think you're going to be a part of it."
Another man, who was driving toward the mall, told WTOP that he saw "a whole lot of people in big bunches running away" and "a whole lot of police driving into the mall from all over."
Columbia Mall's web page