VICTORVILLE, Calif. (AP) — A Southern California shoe store owner opened fire at shoplifters but mistakenly shot and wounded a 9-year-old girl, fled the state and was arrested in Nevada, police said Wednesday.
Marqel Cockrell, 20, was chasing the shoplifters out of the store Tuesday evening at the Mall of Victor Valley in the small city of Victorville when he “fired multiple shots at the shoplifters,” Victorville police said in a statement.
“Cockrell’s shots missed the shoplifters and instead hit the 9-year-old female victim,” the statement said.
Deputies responding to the reports of gunfire found the girl suffering from a gunshot wound at about 6:30 p.m., the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department said.
The girl, who was not identified, was airlifted to a hospital in stable condition, officials said. The mall’s stores were locked down and customers sheltered inside as deputies searched for the shooter.
Cockrell, a co-owner of the shoe store Sole Addicts, was arrested in his car at about 9 p.m. in Clark County, Nevada by the Nevada High Patrol, Victorville police said.
He was being held Wednesday for lack of $1 million bail at the Clark County Detention Center “on an extraditable warrant, for attempted murder,” Victorville police said. An extradition hearing was scheduled for Thursday and jail and court records did not indicate whether Cockrell had an attorney representing him who could comment on his behalf.
The mall was closed Tuesday after the shooting and reopened on Wednesday.