A 9-year-old girl shot several times when a Victorville mall store owner was accused of firing into the busy mall in pursuit of shoplifters was heading home from the hospital, her family shared, along with some pictures of her recovery.
Ava Chruniak was shot multiple times as she waited in line for pictures with the Easter Bunny at The Mall of Victor Valley.
“She has three gunshot wounds. Two are in the arm down here, and one is up here and this one fractured the bone,” her grandmother Robin Moraga-Saldarelli told NBCLA.
A child is recovering after getting shot at the Mall of Victor Valley. She was hit by a store owner who opened fire to stop shoplifters. Tony Shin reports on Wednesday, April 13, 2022.
Moraga-Saldarelli says the girl had gone to the mall with her brother, sisters, and her cousin Madeline. Ava’s mom Natalie wanted Easter photos when suddenly gunfire erupted a few yards away. Natalie is deaf.
“She can hear a little bit out of one ear, and to her she thought it was a bomb,” Moraga-Saldarelli said. “The bullet that hit Ava in the lower arm, missed Madeline’s head by about an inch.
San Bernardino County Sheriff’s officials allege the co-owner of Sole Addicts, Marquel Cockrell, 20, opened fire on two shoplifters.
“His shots missed the intended target which were two suspects running out of his store with merchandise and struck the 9-year-old victim,” said San Bernardino County Sheriff Public Information Officer Gloria Huerta.
Cockrell was later captured in Nevada.
“He was spotted on the freeway near state line. Nevada authorities took him into custody without incident,” Huerta said.
Ava is doing great, her parents shared. They also said she has no nerve damage, but has metal plates and screws to repair her shattered arm bone.
She also shared an image that showed Ava in the car with her arm in a sling, with the wording, “Thank you lord. Grateful, thankful, blessed.”