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Girl shot while waiting for Easter Bunny after California shop owner opens fire on shoplifters


(CNN) — A shoe store owner aiming at would-be shoplifters opened fire in a California mall but struck a 9-year-old girl waiting in line to see the Easter Bunny, police said.

The child was flown to Loma Linda Medical Center after the Tuesday shooting in the Mall of Victor Valley and had surgery. Her injuries were not life threatening. She was released in good condition Thursday, said hospital spokesperson Briana Pastorino.

Marquel Cockrell, co-owner of Sole Addict in the Victor Valley Mall, fled after the shooting, Victorville, California, police said, and was arrested hours later by the Nevada Highway Patrol. He is facing attempted murder charges.

In an interview with CNN affiliate KCAL/KCBS, the girl’s grandmother, Robin Saldarelli, said Ava’s arm will remain in a brace while the bones heal after being shattered by three bullets. The girl and her family were next in line to meet the Easter Bunny.

Sole Addicts posted on Instagram the store will close permanently.

“My business partner’s intentions was never to harm this little girl and I know he would want this little girl to be OK,” the social media post said.

Cockrell waived extradition during a court hearing in Nevada on Thursday, but was ordered held in Las Vegas for 30 days pending the filing of any local charges. He does not currently have an attorney of record, according to the court and the District Attorney’s office.

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