What began as a 9-year-old California girl’s trip to a mall for pictures with someone dressed as the Easter Bunny, ended up as a trip to the hospital instead.
On Tuesday, Victorville police responded to the Mall of Victor Valley after a shooting incident left a girl wounded, according to a news release from the Victorville Police Department.
It took a while, but police learned that she was the victim of an accidental shooting.
Police said Marqel Cockrell, 20, who they identified as the co-owner of a store at the mall called Sole Addicts, was chasing two shoplifters out of the store.
As he pursued the shoplifters, Cockrell fired multiple shots at them.
Ava was taken to Loma Linda University Medical Center.
Cockrell fled the mall, which was closed after the incident.
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More than two hours after the shooting, Nevada Highway Patrol found Cockrell, stopped his vehicle and took him into custody
Cockrell was booked in at the Clark County Jail on a charge of attempted murder, with bail set at $1 million.
The San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department evacuated the mall, according to ABC, until it was learned how the shooting took place.
A store owner was taken into custody and a young girl is recovering at the hospital after shots rang out at a mall in Victorville, officials said. https://t.co/Z7gaKd9BkS
— FOX 11 Los Angeles (@FOXLA) April 13, 2022
The shooting was the second in recent months near the Mall of Victor Valley. In November, one man was killed and two other people were wounded in a shooting that took place outside the mall.
Writing on a GoFundMe page, Natalie Moraga said she was the girl’s mother.
“[M]y daughter Ava was shot on Tuesday April 12, 2022 by a active shooter in Victorville mall she is just 9 years old, no little girl deserves this !” she wrote.
“No child deserves this she was at the mall going for Easter pictures with the bunny she such a sweet loving girl and loves reading her books, she is suffering from 2 gunshot wounds, and her arm is broken!!!!!!”
(The Western Journal does not endorse GoFundMe, but reproduces the information to inform readers.)