One of four fatal victims of a unleashed shooting On Wednesday, in suburban Los Angeles, was a nine-year-old boy who may have died in the arms of his injured mother as she tried unsuccessfully to save him, officials said Thursday.
“It appears a little boy died in his mother’s arms as she tried to save him during this horrific massacre,” Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer said at a conference. hurry.
“Our hearts go out to the victims today, and I am here to tell you that we will do everything in our power in the Orange County District Attorney’s office to achieve justice for these families,” Spitzer said. He said he would consider asking for the death penalty.
The bloodshed in Orange, California, about 30 miles southeast of central Los Angeles, marked the third deadly mass shooting in the United States in less than a month.
In the two other explosions in March, a man killed eight people including six Asian women at age three. Atlanta area spas, and another man opened fire on a supermarket in Boulder, Colorado, killing 10 people.
Unlike the other two blasts, investigators in California said they were able to immediately determine that the attacker knew the victims, ruling out a random act of violence.
“The preliminary reason would be linked to a professional and personal relationship that existed between the suspect and all the victims,” Lt. Jennifer Amat of the Orange Police Department said at the same press conference.
Authorities identified the suspect as Aminadab Gaxiola Gonzalez, 44, a resident of the nearby town of Fullerton.
Besides the boy, the other victims were a man and two women.
The shooter and the woman protecting the boy both remained hospitalized in critical but stable condition, Amat said.
On Wednesday afternoon, the suspect entered the office complex of a company called Unified Homes that buys and sells mobile homes and locked the doors of a yard behind him with bicycle locks, police said.
Shots were still being fired when officers arrived, officials said, but they were locked out until they could cut the chains with bolt cutters.
“In the meantime, horrific rampages were taking place in offices and people were dying or being shot,” Spitzer said.
From outside the yard, two of the officers engaged in a shootout with the suspect, who was injured and arrested, Amat said.
Tim Smith’s house is separated from the office parking lot by a wooden garden fence. He was in the back of his house when he heard a volley of three shots, then a volley of three and a final volley of four.
“The first words I heard after the shots were, ‘Don’t move or I’ll shoot you,'” Smith, 64, said Thursday morning, according to the Associated Press.
Smith said he heard this repeated two more times from a man’s voice and thought it was a policeman speaking. He did not hear any other voices or more shots. He later peeked over the fence and saw SWAT officers walking in a line in the courtyard of the building.
“It saddens me so much,” he says. “An insane loss of life.”
Authorities recovered a semi-automatic handgun and a backpack containing pepper spray, handcuffs and ammunition which they said belonged to the suspect.
After assisting the injured woman who appeared to be protecting the dead nine-year-old boy, police searched the compound and found a dead woman on an upstairs exterior landing, a dead man in an office building, and a dead woman in another office. building, said Amat.
The police are withholding their identities until relatives can be informed.