A Southern California shoe store owner accused of mistakenly shooting a 9-year-old girl during a confrontation with shoplifters has waived his extradition in Las Vegas and will be returned to California to face charges.
Marqel Cockrell, 20, appeared in Las Vegas Justice Court early Thursday in front of Senior Judge James Bixler. Cockrell confirmed to Bixler he was, in fact, waving extradition and was willing to return to California to face a charge of attempted murder.
“I’m signing the order of extradition,” Bixler told Cockrell adding, “California has 30 days to come get you.”
Cockrell was chasing the shoplifters out of the store Tuesday evening at the Mall of Victor Valley in the small city of Victorville when he “fired multiple shots at the shoplifters,” Victorville police said in a statement.
“Cockrell’s shots missed the shoplifters and instead hit the 9-year-old female victim,” the statement said.
The girl, identified by family members as Ava Chruniak, had been getting ready for pictures with the Easter Bunny in the mall when the shots were fired, said her grandmother, Robin Moraga-Saldarelli. The girl was left with three gunshot wounds, including two in her arm, Moraga-Saldarelli said. She was airlifted to a hospital and is expected to survive although she faces a long road to recovery, family members said.
Authorities said Cockrell, a co-owner of the shoe store Sole Addicts, was arrested in his car at about 9 p.m. in Clark County by the Nevada Highway Patrol. He was scheduled to appear at 7:30 a.m. for an extradition hearing.
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