LAS VEGAS (AP) — A Southern California shoe store owner accused of shooting and injuring a 9-year-old girl when he opened fire on shoplifters agreed Thursday to be brought back from Nevada to face charges in the case will.
Police said Marqel Cockrell, 20, fled the California desert town of Victorville in his car shortly after the girl, identified by family members as Ava Chruniak, was mistakenly hit by bullets on Tuesday while waiting for her was photographed with a shopping mall Easter Bunny.
Cockrell, 20, was on trial 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, a co-owner of shoe store Sole Addicts in the Mall of Victor Valley, was in pursuit of two shoplifters around 6:30 p.m. Tuesday when he fired shots that “instead hit the 9-year-old female victim,” Victorville police said in a statement .
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The girl suffered three gunshot wounds, including two in an arm, said her grandmother, Moraga-Saldarelli. One of the bullets broke an arm bone.
She was discharged from hospital Thursday but will need another operation to repair nerve damage, KCBS-TV reported.
“I will never forgive him. What he did to me is not okay,” Ava told the broadcaster from her bed at home. “No one should have a gun in the mall.”
Police said Cockrell drove out of the mall before responding officers arrived after receiving reports of gunfire and that he was arrested in Nevada’s Clark County, about a three-hour drive from Victorville.
Cockrell is being held at the Clark County Detention Center in Las Vegas. Authorities said he faces at least one charge of attempted murder. The records do not indicate if he has an attorney who could speak on his behalf.
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