Family members have identified the four people killed and the woman wounded when a gunman opened fire at an Orange office park Wednesday afternoon.
Police earlier Thursday said the suspect is a 44-year-old man who knew the victims and had locked the gates of the complex before the rampage.
A 9-year-old boy, Matthew Farias, was among those killed. He died in the arms of his mother, Blanca Tamayo, who remained in critical condition Thursday night, according to relatives of victims.
The others fatally shot include Luis Tovar, owner of the Unified Homes mobile home business where the shooting took place, Tovar’s daughter Genevieve Raygoza, and Leticia Solis, another of Tovar’s daughters told KTLA.
When police arrived at the scene of the active shooting at 202 W. Lincoln Ave., they couldn’t get into the courtyard because the gates had been locked from the inside, Lt. Jennifer Amat with the Orange Police Department said during a Thursday news conference.
“It appears the suspect used a bicycle-type cable lock to secure the gates from the inside, on both the north and the south sides of the courtyard,” Amat said. “Two officers engaged the suspect from outside of the gates, and an officer-involved-shooting occurred.”
When officers forced their way inside, they found Farias dead with Tamayo, who was taken to a hospital in critical condition. It’s believed Tamayo also worked at the business.
“It appears that a little boy died in his mother’s arms, and she was trying to save him during this horrific massacre,” Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer said.
The gunman, identified as Aminadab Gaxiola Gonzalez of Fullerton, was also found wounded and taken into custody.
“The preliminary motive is believed to be related to a business and personal relationship, which existed between the suspects, and all of the victims,” Amat said. “It appears all of the adults were connected either by business or a personal relationship, and this was not a random act of violence.”
One of the women killed was found upstairs on an outdoor landing, one man was found inside one office building and another woman was located inside a separate office building, according to police.
It remains unclear whether the shooter was struck when police opened fire, or if he sustained a self-inflicted wound. The gunman was still in critical condition Thursday.
“It’s our understanding that the suspect was firing towards officers,” police said.
Investigators recovered several items at the scene, including a semi-automatic handgun and a backpack containing pepper spray, handcuffs and ammunition, which they believe belonged to the suspect, Amat said.
“Mr. Gonzalez is eligible for the death penalty. This is a special circumstances case, there were multiple victims,” the district attorney said. “And we are now presently looking at whether his locking of the front and back gates constituted a lying in wait, which would also be eligible for death.”
After the first 911 call about the shooting, it took the first Orange police officer under two minutes to arrive, but the officer couldn’t get in, Amat said.
Spitzer said officers had to engage the suspect from outside the gates until bolt cutters were brought to the scene.
“In the meantime, a horrific rampage was going on in offices, and people were dying or were being shot. And that is still obviously under investigation,” he said.
The office suites where the victims were located were identified as the Unified Homes, which sells mobile homes.
“It is a horrible, horrible tragedy that Mr. Gonzalez, made a decision to use deadly force to deal with issues he was dealing with, apparently in his life, but he will suffer and face the consequences,” Spitzer said. Officials didn’t clarify what issues they believe motivated the shooting.
Investigators are looking into whether Gonzalez had a criminal history, the district attorney said.
Gonzalez, who is believed to have been living in an Anaheim motel room, arrived at the scene of the shooting in a rental car that was found at the parking lot of the business complex, police said.
Police said they obtained video footage from inside the business complex that shows the suspect inside of the business.
The multi-tenant, two-story office building houses various businesses such as a mental health counseling services office, State Farm Insurance, a financial consulting firm, a legal services firm and a phone repair store.
Police said there were not a lot of other people on the complex when the gunfire rang out.
The shooting, which took place on both levels of the building, was the worst in the city since 1997, Amat said Wednesday.
A GoFundMe campaign has been set up to help raise money for the victims’ families.