26 Jan 2014

Gunman kills US mall workers

2:01 pm on 26 January 2014

A gunman opened fire with a shotgun in a crowded shopping mall in the American state of Maryland killing two shop employees and wounding another person before apparently killing himself.

Howard County police said they did not know the motive for the shooting at the large mall in Columbia, near Baltimore.

Police evacuate employees and shoppers from the mall.

Police evacuate employees and shoppers from the mall. Photo: AFP

The victims were a 21-year-old woman and 25-year-old man who worked at the skate shop where the shooting took place.

One person suffered a gunshot wound to the foot, and four others were injured in the chaos, police said. Howard County General Hospital said all five people had been treated and released.

The shooting happened at about 11:15 am on upper level of the mall which has more than 200 stores and was crowded with weekend shoppers. Local authorities said police arrived within two minutes of the emergency call but it took hours to clear the large building of shoppers and employees.

Police said they found a large amount of ammunition on the body of the suspected gunman.

The attack in Columbia follows a shooting at a New Jersey mall in November in which a gunman fired at least six shots without hitting anyone, sparking a mass evacuation of the complex, then killing himself.

There also has been a spate of shootings in recent days at U.S. schools and universities. A student was shot dead on Friday at South Carolina State University in Orangeburg, and at Purdue University in Indiana a teacher's assistant was shot and killed on Tuesday. In both incidents suspects have been charged with the crimes.