Police say Marqel Cockrell, 20, fled the California desert town of Victorville in his car just after the girl, identified by family members as Ava Chruniak, was mistakenly hit by balls on Tuesday as she waited to be photographed with a mall Easter bunny.
Cockrell, 20, showed up in court and told a Las Vegas judge he understood California authorities had 30 days to extradite him. He was not represented by an attorney because Nevada does not provide attorneys for extradition cases.
Cockrell co-owns the Sole Addicts shoe store at the Victor Valley Mall and was chasing two shoplifters around 6:30 p.m. Tuesday when he fired shots that “instead hit the victim, a 9-year-old girl”, Victorville police said in a statement. .
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The girl suffered three gunshot wounds, including two to the arm, said her grandmother, Moraga-Saldarelli. One of the bullets fractured a bone in his arm.
Police say Cockrell drove out of the mall before officers arrived after receiving reports of gunshots and was arrested in Clark County, Nevada, at about a three hour drive from Victorville.
Cockrell is being held at Clark County Detention Center in Las Vegas. Authorities said he faces at least one attempted murder charge. The records do not indicate whether he has an attorney who could speak on his behalf.
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