Los Angeles, CA- As thousands of shoppers crowded the Fashion Island shopping center in Newport Beach, a troubled man began shooting his semiautomatic handgun into the air. Fortunately, no one was injured or killed, but the gunman
Authorities said Marcos Gurrola, 42, began firing in the air around 4:30 p.m. Saturday afternoon. He managed to shot off 50 rounds, sending shoppers scrambling.
One witness, Kateri Wonzy, told CBS Los Angeles, “I saw all of these people running and thought maybe some celebrity was in the back. But when I heard what sounded like a gunshot. And we all started panicking. I ran to where my car was. We were all just trying to get out of there.”
Another witness told CBS Gurrola was shooting wildly into the air and describe the terror they felt, “We were all so scared. Some people were crying. It felt like a horror movie.”
There were numerous bike patrols in the area to cut down on theft and police arrived almost immediately to diffuse the situation.
Following in the wake of the tragedy in Connecticut, when police received the call, they feared the worst. Orange County Police Deputy Chief David McGill told the Los Angeles Times all he could think was “Oh Gosh here we go.” But luckily no one was hit by a bullet and only one person was injured when trying to flee.
Gurrola was taken into custody and charged with firing at an inhabited building. McGill said they believed Gurrola was unemployed.
McGill also said they believe Gurrola began shooting to “vent” his frustrations and was possibly living in his vehicle. Gurrola was former armed guardsman for the Bureau of Security and Investigative Services. His handgun permit expired in 2001.
There are conflicting reports about the charges Gurrola is facing. The Los Angeles Times reported he was charged with firing at an inhabited building while CBS reported he would be charged with assault with a deadly weapon. The final charges will depend on the discretion of prosecutors, but either charge could result in jail time.
Shooting at an inhabited building could result in 6 months to 10 years in jail or state prison, along with losing the right to own a gun.
In the wake of two deadly shootings, one in Oregon that killed two people and the school shooting in Connecticut which took the lives of 20 children and 7 adults, authorities will likely aggressively pursue tough sentencing for people who endanger the public.
These two tragedies also compelled gun owners in New York, San Francisco, Maryland, and New Jersey to turn in their guns in a buyback program paid for by an anonymous donor.
Though Gurolla’s actions did not result in injury, his possible charges are still very serious and will require a strong defense.
Defense attorneys have numerous ways to approach a case, either than can negotiate for a plea bargain or a court trial, depending on the circumstances surround an individual’s charges. Those charged with a felony need to retain an attorney with extensive knowledge of the California penal code. As a practicing criminal defense attorney, Robert M. Bernstein will work diligently on a case in order to give his clients a chance to avoid an unduly harsh sentence or avoid a conviction.
- Law Office of Robert M. Bernstein
9595 Wilshire Blvd. Suite 900
Beverly Hills, CA 90212