Authorities say they’ve arrested the owner of a shoe store for opening fire on shoplifters at a Victorville mall that instead hit an innocent 9-year-old girl.
the† The shooting prompted several stores to go on lockdown, and employees were told to shelter in place as deputies searched the mall for the gunman.
The girl was taking pictures with the Easter Bunny when she was hit by the gunfire. She was airlifted to Loma Linda University Medical Center, where was in stable condition.
According to San Bernardino County Sheriff’s officials, 20-year-old Marqel Cockrell – the co-owner of a shoe store called Sole Addicts – was identified as the shooter. Investigators say Cockrell, who lives in Adelanto, had chased two shoplifters out of the store, and fired multiple shots at them. The shots missed the shoplifters, and instead hit the girl.
The girl and her family hid in a store immediately after the shooting, and an employee who was with them says she was remarkably calm. she†
The shooter fled the scene, but Cockrell was found at about 9 pm by Nevada Highway Patrol and taken into custody. Cockrell is being held at Clark County Jail in Nevada on an extraditable warrant, for attempted murder, in the amount of $1 million.
The mall reopened Wednesday, but the shooting was still fresh in the minds of shoppers and employees. Shopper Terry Lattimore said she has lived in the area for a long time and has never seen as many problems as she sees now.
“It never used to be like this. We’ve been here for 10 years, never had a problem, and I heard, I think, a couple of weeks ago, something happened in there, to turn around last night, this happens, she said. “It’s horrible. My heart goes out to the little kid.”
Anyone with information about the shooting or investigation can contact the Victorville Police Department at (760) 241-2911.