NEWPORT BEACH, Calif. — A Garden Grove man was charged Tuesday with more than 50 felony counts after allegedly firing dozens of shots from a semi-automatic handgun in the parking lot of the Fashion Island shopping center.
42-year-old Marcos Gurrola was charged with 54 counts of discharging a gun in public and two counts of assault for injuries suffered by a mother and her 4-year-old daughter when they were knocked to the ground in the ensuing panic.
The unemployed security guard was also charged with 10 counts of discharging a gun in public for a similar incident at the popular shopping hub in November 2011.
If convicted on all counts, Gurrola faces a maximum sentence of 115 years in prison.
Gurrola’s family finds it hard to believe what he’s been accused of, but they say he seemed “out of it” only two days before the shooting at his grandmother’s wake.
“The last time I saw him was at my grandma’s wake on Thursday,” said cousin Jacob Avalos. “He was like totally different. He didn’t look like himself.”
Asked how Gurrola has changed over the years, Avalos replied: “He’s just like not in his head, like not all there.”
Avalos said that Gurrola, who was in the Navy, never seemed the to be the same when he returned from war.
He confirmed that his cousin, who is form Garden Grove, was living out of his car.
Investigators believe he was frustrated because of personal problems when he opened fire.
Newport Beach Police Chief David McGill told the Los Angeles Times that the gunman was “unhappy about a lot in life and decided this was his best way of releasing his tension.”
Police recovered a handgun and ammunition at the scene.
Authorities have also linked Gurrola to a similar shooting spree in 2011.
Investigators say an unknown suspect opened fire in a parking lot at Fashion Island on Nov. 16, 2011, shooting 10 rounds.
At the time of that shooting no suspects were identified and no injuries were reported.