COLUMBIA, Md. - Brianna Benlolo was one of two Zumiez employees shot and killed at the store on Saturday Jan. 25. Days later, loved ones are left dealing with a tragedy they're calling unimaginable.
"It's really hard, I knew both of them," said Nicholas Proudfoot. "It's never something you can just erase from your mind. I mean, it happened it in such a tragic way that I don't think I'll ever have complete closure."
Proudfoot played volleyball with Benlolo every Friday, but said it's the moments following the game that he'll never forget. He said often times the two would sit and talk, sharing ideas and pictures of their artwork with one another.
"Anybody that came up to her, she'd smile and welcome them with opening arms. She was a very sweet, genuine person," he said.
When he heard news of a shooting inside the Zumiez store on Saturday, his heart sank. He said he immediately texted a friend.
"I asked her if they were the only two people working and she said, 'Yes.' And that's when I knew."
It's a moment he won't forget. "Shock. Denial that it could've been them. Maybe it was wrong. Anger. And then I was just numb," he said.
He describes Benlolo as a loving, involved, and caring mother who would do anything for her child.