Gunfire strikes girl as she waits to see mall Easter Bunny

Sheriff's deputies, ambulances and fire personnel respond to a shooting at a Victorville mall Tuesday night.

A young girl who was wounded by gunfire as she waited to see a mall Easter Bunny in Victorville was allegedly shot by a shoe merchant who fired a gun at fleeing shoplifters, authorities said Wednesday.

The incident occurred around 6:30 p.m. Tuesday as 9-year-old Ava Chruniak waited to get her photo taken with the Easter Bunny at the Mall of Victor Valley, according to her grandmother, Robin Moraga-Saldarelli.

According to investigators with the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department, gunfire erupted when the co-owner of a shoe store, Sole Addicts, chased two shoplifters out of the store and allegedly fired a gun at them.


The shots missed the shoplifters and hit the 9-year-old instead, police said. She was transported to the Loma Linda University Medical Center in stable condition.

The 9-year-old is suffering from two gunshot wounds and a broken arm, said her mother Natalie Moraga in a GoFundMe created for her medical expenses.

The shoe seller, Marqel Cockrell, 20, of Adelanto, fled the scene after the shooting, police said. He was found by Nevada Highway Patrol at about 9 p.m. in his vehicle.

Cockrell is being held on suspicion of attempted murder at the Clark County Jail in Nevada on an extraditable warrant. His bail has been set at $1 million, police said.