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Fashion Island gunman fired 50 rounds, motive unclear, police say

December 16, 2012 |  8:00 am

A gunman fired at least 50 rounds in the crowded parking lot of the Fashion Island shopping mall, but Newport Beach police are unclear about a motive.

The gunfire sent shoppers scrambling for cover. A shopper in the parking lot recorded a video capturing the gunfire and posted it on YouTube.

Marcos Gurrola, 42, of Garden Grove was arrested in the parking lot near the Macy’s department store shortly after firing the shots about 4:30 p.m., said Kathy Lowe, a spokeswoman for the Newport Beach Police Department. Officers on bike patrol apprehended the man.

Police searched the mall but did not find anyone who had been struck by the gunfire. The shots were apparently fired either in the air or at the ground.

More than 50 rounds were recovered at the scene, Deputy Chief David McGill said. A handgun was recovered at the scene, but police did not reveal any more details about the weapon.

The mall was crowded with holiday shoppers at the time of the shooting.

Shopper Dena Nassef said she and another person were walking toward Macy’s when people started yelling and running.

“With what happened in Connecticut, we were freaking out,” she said. “It was like crazy, people leaving stores.”

Ann Butcher, an employee at Macy’s, said she was on the patio at Whole Foods when people started running and screaming. She said some women left their purses and fled.

“That was very scary,” she said.

Shopper Eric Widmer said he was at the Barnes & Noble bookstore when he saw a mother and daughter rush in crying. He said he heard someone scream, “Shooter!”

He said he managed to exit the bookstore and head to Macy’s. Once there, he was not allowed to leave.

“I thought, ‘Great, I get to be scared twice,’” he said. “Lightning strikes twice.”


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-- Lauren Williams in Newport Beach and Rosanna Xia  in Los Angeles

Photo: A police car blocks an entrance to Fashion Island at San Miguel Drive and Newport Center Drive. Credit: Kevin Chang / Times Community News