VICTORVILLE, Calif. - Ava Rose and her sisters were giggling and taking cell phone pictures of each other as they lined up with other excited children, waiting to get photos taken with the Easter Bunny at the Victor Valley Mall in Victorville.
Her mother, who is deaf, explains in sign language she felt a "big boom" which she initially thought was a plane crash. It was actually bullets from a gun that, according to San Bernardino County Sheriff investigators, was being shot by a mall store owner, who was chasing (and shooting at) supposed shoplifters, inside the mall.
Ava was hit several times and transported to Loma Linda Hospital, where she is being treated. Her family explains that one of the bullets fractured the bone in her arm so seriously, doctors are having a difficult time repairing it. The third-grader is expected to make it, after a long and expensive recovery.
The family has set up a GoFundMe. The family, which includes mom, dad and six children, were not prepared for the kinds of bills they are expecting, saying they never could have imagined that an afternoon trip to get Easter bunny photos at the local mall would turn into a shootout.
Investigators say it’s a miracle no one else was hit, especially with all the families with children getting their Easter photos.
"The world has gone crazy," says Ava’s grandmother, adding, "who chases anyone shooting, let alone inside a mall crowded with children?"
Twenty-year-old Marquel Cockrell, the owner of the Sole Addicts shoe store, was arrested by Highway Patrol Officers in Nevada, where they stopped the vehicle he was driving. He is being held on a $1 million extraditable warrant, so he is expected to come back to California, where Sheriff investigators say he will face charges, including attempted murder.
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