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No link between Fashion Island, Sandy Hook shootings, police say

December 16, 2012 | 11:24 am

Newport Beach police have not said what might have prompted a man to shoot more than 50 rounds in a parking lot at a busy shopping mall Saturday, but they added that the incident was not related to the deadly shooting at a Connecticut elementary school the day before.

"There's no connection to Connecticut," Newport Beach police Lt. Jon Lewis said Sunday.

On Friday, a man opened fire at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., killing 20 children and six adults before fatally shooting himself. The suspected gunman, Adam Lanza, 20, also killed his mother before the rampage began, officials say.

Those at the Fashion Island mall said they thought of the Newtown shooting as they heard shots ring out.

"With what happened in Connecticut, we were freaking out," said shopper Dena Nassef, who said she was walking toward Macy's when people started yelling and running. "It was like crazy, people leaving stores."

Police searched the mall but did not find anyone who had been injured by the shots, which were apparently fired either into the air or at the ground near the Macy's department store about 4:30 p.m. One person was hurt fleeing the scene, but the injury was not considered serious.

The suspect, identified as Marcos Gurrola, 42, was booked on a charge of shooting at an inhabited dwelling, Lewis said. He remained in Orange County Jail on $250,000 bail.

A handgun was also recovered at the scene, but police did not reveal any more details about the weapon. The state's landmark assault-weapons law, which went into effect in 2000, banned the use of handgun magazines with more than 19 bullets.

Lewis said reports that Gurrola had been living in his car were accurate. Online jail records listed Gurrola's occupation as a "patrolman," but Lewis said he had no additional details other than saying Gurrola did not work in law enforcement.

State records showed Gurrola was a registered guard/patrol person with the Bureau of Security and Investigation Services. That license expires in January 2013.

KCBS-TV reported that Gurrola told police after his arrest that he was "unhappy with life."

The mall was crowded at the time of the shooting. Some stores were immediately locked down, and many shoppers posted messages on Facebook and Twitter saying they were locked inside.

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.


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