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Mall Tragedy Underscores Errors of Mental Health Stigma

It’s been about two months since Columbia experienced the sadness and loss of random public violence. In that attack, 19-year-old Darion Aguilar murdered Brianna Benlolo and Tyler Johnson, employees at a Zumiez store in The Mall in Columbia, and injured a third individual before turning the shotgun on himself. Police later discovered a crudely improvised bomb in his backpack.

Subsequent investigations indicated Aguilar was aware that he had a mental health problem, documenting his anguished thoughts in a journal and confiding in the general physician he visited.

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