Baltimore Sun reporter Eduardo A. Encina talked 1-on-1 with Howard County Executive Ken Ulman on Saturday night as police continued their investigation of the shooting at The Mall in Columbia in which three were killed.
Looking back at the day:
Obviously it was a tough, scary day – a tragic day for the victims and their families. Our thoughts and prayers go out to them, but I also saw a lot of bravery. I saw men and women who are trained well and they’ve got all the tools. You never know how things are going to go in an active shooter incident. The fact that they got here within two minutes and the tact team was there a few minutes after that and just rushed into the mall as quickly as possible. We saw a lot of tough work and frankly a lot of compassion. Stories are coming out about people grabbing kids and huddling them into storage rooms and locking the doors. You hope you never have to go through anything like this, but I always try to find the silver lining in tough challenges.
On the work being done overnight:
People don’t realize how big a mall is and how many spaces there are. We know the public areas, we know the stores and the outside areas and the hallways and food court. You don’t see all the bathrooms and the storage rooms and the back hallways, the delivery areas, all that stuff. Because we found the backpack with some explosive devices out of an overabundance of caution, we brought in dozens of canine dogs from partner agencies to go over every inch of the mall just to be certain there’s nothing else there.
On being prepared for event of this magnitude at the busiest place in Columbia:
Of course it’s a scary incident. On the other hand, because we know the mall is such a public place, we’ve trained here. Our tact teams have trained at the mall, with the mall security folks, we know where the surveillance cameras are. We know how to get in and out. We’ve done this kind of training. We’ve briefed their management, each one of their store managers about ‘Here’s what you do.’ And a lot of that happened. We’re going to go back through after action and see. But listen, I’m going to be back eating in the food court and shopping here. We’re a tough community and we’re going to get back to normal very, very quickly.