Calif. girl shot while waiting for Easter Bunny says she’ll ‘never forgive’ shooter

A 9-year-old girl who was mistakenly shot when a California shoe store owner allegedly opened fire on shoplifters said she’ll “never forgive” him for injuring her.

Ava Chruniak was shot while she was waiting to have her photo taken with a mall Easter Bunny in Victorville in Southern California on Tuesday.

Police said the alleged shooter, Marqel Cockrell, 20, fled to Nevada after he struck the little girl — but will be extradited to California to face an attempted murder charge.

“I will never forgive him. What he did to me is not OK,” Ava told CBS LA.

“No one should have a gun in the mall.”

She added: “I want to know why they shot me. Why was I the one who got shot?”

Cockrell, who co-owns the shoe store Sole Addicts at the Mall of Victor Valley, was allegedly chasing down two shoplifters at about 6:30 p.m. Tuesday when he started firing at them.

The little girl was struck three times, including one bullet that fractured a bone in her arm, her grandmother Robin Moraga-Saldarelli said.

Ava Chruniak said she’ll never forgive Marqel Cockrell for allegedly shooting her while she waited in line to see the Easter Bunny inside a California mall.
Marqel Cockrell

Cockrell allegedly opened fire inside a California mall before fleeing to Nevada.
Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal via AP
Ava was struck three times, according to her grandmother.
Fox 11 Los Angeles

Ava was released from the hospital Thursday but will require another operation to repair nerve damage.

Authorities said Cockrell fled the mall in his car before responding officers arrived. He was nabbed by Nevada cops when he reached the Las Vegas region about three hours later.

He faced a Las Vegas court Thursday and agreed to be extradited to California to face charges.

Cockrell is being held at the Clark County Detention Center in Las Vegas.

Authorities in California have 30 days to extradite him.



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