California store owner charged with mistakenly shooting girl


A Southern California shoe store co-owner who allegedly injured a 9-year-old girl while shooting shoplifters has been charged with assault with a firearm

SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. — A Southern California shoe store co-owner who allegedly injured a 9-year-old girl while shooting shoplifters has been charged with assault with a firearm, it was announced Monday authorities.

Marquel Michael James Cockrell, 20, was to be arraigned by video in San Bernardino County Superior Court in Rancho Cucamonga, according to a press release from the prosecution.

Other counts include grossly negligent discharging of a firearm and carrying a loaded firearm that was not registered in the defendant’s name. It was not immediately clear whether Cockrell had an attorney to speak on his behalf.

The shooting took place on April 12 at the Victor Valley Mall in the desert town of Victorville.

Cockrell chased two shoplifters and fired shots that “instead hit the victim, a 9-year-old girl,” Victorville police said in a statement.

The young girl, Ava Chruniak, suffered three gunshot wounds, including two to her arm, her grandmother, Robin Moraga-Saldarelli, said. One of the bullets fractured a bone in his arm.

Police say Cockrell fled and was later arrested in Clark County, Nevada. He was later extradited and detained in California, the San Bernardino County District Attorney’s Office said.

Ava was released from hospital on April 14 but will have to undergo surgery to repair nerve damage, KCBS-TV reported last week.

ABC News

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