A Victorville shoe store owner accused of shooting and injuring a 9-year-old girl while opening fire at suspected shoplifters has agreed to return from Nevada to face at least one charge.
Police say Marqel Cockrell, 20, fled Victorville in his car just after the girl, identified by family members as Ava Chruniak, was mistakenly shot on Tuesday, April 12 , as she waited to be photographed with an Easter Bunny at the Victor Valley Mall.
Cockrell, 20, appeared in court on Thursday, April 14 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 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,” the police said. Victorville police in a statement.
The girl suffered three gunshot wounds, two of which were in her arm, her grandmother, Moraga-Saldarelli, said. A bullet fractured a bone in the arm.
She was discharged from hospital on Thursday but will require another operation to repair nerve damage, KCBS-TV reported.
“I will never forgive him. What he did to me is not acceptable,” the girl told the station from her bed at home. “No one should have a gun in the mall .”
Police say Cockrell drove away from the mall before responding officers arrived. He was arrested in Clark County, Nevada, about a three-hour drive from Victorville.
Cockrell was being held at the Clark County Detention Center in Las Vegas. Authorities said he faces at least one attempted murder charge.