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Maryland mall cleared after shooter kills 3, injures 5 others

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The Mall in Columbia, where a gunman opened fire killing two mall employees and injured five others, before turning the gun on himself has been cleared.

Howard County Sheriff, Bill McMahon said at a news conference moments ago that reports that Saturday's shooting is domestic related have not been confirmed.

Shooting incidents often referred to as "soft targets," including schools and shopping venues are increasingly becoming the norm in cities and town across the United States.

Recent shootings at U.S. shopping malls include one in November, 2013, where a gunman opened fire at a New Jersey mall and was later found dead of an apparent suicide. On Christmas Eve, a woman was shot and killed in a parking lot of a Macy's store at a San Diego mall. In November 2012, a shooting occurred inside of the Westfield Southlake Shopping Mall in Hobart, Indiana and several more at movie theaters often housed in shopping malls.

Interestly, recent research on how to survive a shooting suggests that the best survival plan if you are faced with an active shooter may be simply thinking about what you would do ahead of time.

An instructional video on how to survive workplace violence from the Department of Homeland Security offers some practical tips, such as locking doors behind you, silence cellphones, and as a last resort, do everything possible to take the shooter down.

"Your survival may depend on whether or not you have a plan," the narrator says. "The plan doesn't have to be complicated. There are three things you could do that make a difference: run, hide, fight."

In the three minutes it took police to respond to Saturday morning's mall shooting, the damage was done.

Security experts stress that moments after disaster strikes often determines life or death.

What would do you if faced with an active shooter situation?

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