/  04.15.2022

On Tuesday (April 12), as a 9-year-old girl waited in line at a Southern California mall to have Easter pictures taken, she was shot three times by a store owner.

With Easter Sunday being this weekend, Ava Chruniak, 9, took a trip to the Mall of Victor Valley in Victorville, California, to have some traditional Easter bunny pictures taken. As she stood in line with her family, waiting for her turn, she was struck by bullets.

Marqel Cockrell, 20, — who is the co-owner of the Sole Addicts shoe store — happened to be chasing shoplifters in that very mall as Chruniak stood with her family. While in pursuit of the shoplifters, Cockrell reportedly opened fire in the mall, mistakenly hitting Chruniak.

After firing the shots, Cockrell fled the scene. Cockrell left Victorville and was arrested in Nevada’s Clark County, which is about a three-hour drive from where the crime took place.

Chruniak’s grandmother told officials that of the three gunshot wounds, two were in an arm and one of the bullets fractured an arm bone.

Because Cockrell fled to another state, he must now be extradited. Yesterday, he agreed to be returned from Nevada to face charges in the case.

Cockrell has already appeared before a Las Vegas judge to acknowledge that California officials had up to 30 days to extradite him. At the time he did not have a lawyer due to Nevada not providing lawyers for extradition cases.

Cockrell is currently being held at the Clark County Detention Center in Las Vegas. Sources say he could face at least one attempted murder charge.

According to KCBS-TV, Chruniak was discharged from the hospital yesterday but will require another operation to repair nerve damage.

Chruniak told the station, “I will never forgive him. What he did to me is not OK. No one should have a gun in the mall.”


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