Fashion Island shooter case moves closer to trial

An Orange County Superior Court judge found enough evidence Monday to move forward with a case against a Garden Grove man accused of firing 54 rounds at Fashion Island in December 2012.

Marcos Gurrola, 42, is charged with shooting at an occupied building and aggravated assault, with sentencing enhancements for the use of a firearm, after he allegedly fired a Glock .40 semiautomatic handgun into the air in the parking lot near Macy's just 10 days before Christmas.

The shooting occurred the day after the school massacre in Newtown, Conn., and within a week of another fatal shooting at a shopping mall outside Portland, Ore.

In addition to charges tied to the December shooting, prosecutors said Gurrola faces 10 counts of negligent discharge of a firearm after he allegedly fired 10 shots, also at Fashion Island, in November 2011.

Police connected him to the 2011 shooting while investigating the more recent crime, prosecutors said.

Gurrola, who was previously in the Navy, pleaded not guilty to all charges in January, according to court records.

A Newport Beach police detective took the stand during Gurrola's preliminary hearing at Orange County Superior Court in Newport Beach and described the events that took place outside Macy's.

Det. Garrett Fitzgerald told the court that he spoke with Gurrola after his arrest and that

Gurrola told him he had been upset on the day of the shooting about not receiving money he had anticipated from the state. He had written checks that he knew were going to bounce, Fitzgerald said.

"He said firing the gun made him feel better," Fitzgerald said.

The detective said Gurrola told him that he selected the Newport Beach shopping center because "that's where the rich people were."

Gurrola had a firearm permit and was trained to use the gun while he was working as a security guard, his attorney said.

Although no one was shot, a woman shopping with her 4-year-old daughter at the center's Whole Foods store was injured while fleeing to safety, said Deputy Dist. Atty. Robert Mestman.

The woman lost her balance while rushing out of the store with other shoppers and hit her head on a bread cart. She received eight stitches to a cut above her eyebrow. The victim's daughter also hit her head but did not sustain injuries, Mestman said.

Gurrola's attorney attempted to have the two charges related to the victim and her daughter dropped, alleging that Gurrola did not directly cause their injuries, but Judge Joy Markman denied the motion.

"The defendant set this whole thing in motion," she said. "He generated a mass panic."

Gurrola will be arraigned in a Santa Ana courtroom on Dec. 9. He faces 115 years in prison if convicted on all counts.

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