A Garden Grove man whom officials have identified as 42-year-old Marcos Gurrola allegedly fired 50 shots into a Fashion Island parking lot. According to a news report in The Orange County Register, the incident occurred the afternoon of December 15, 2012, a day after a 20-year-old man gunned down 20 schoolchildren and six adults at an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut.
No one was injured in the Newport Beach shooting. Gurrola was arrested and charged with shooting at an inhabited dwelling. Officials say Gurrola was a licensed security guard whose firearm permit had expired more than 10 years ago. Police are still investigating the case. There is no information regarding why the shooting occurred.
It is indeed fortunate that no one was injured and killed during this episode, which occurred at a busy, packed shopping center during the holiday shopping season. My thoughts and prayers are with everyone who was in Fashion Island at the time and of course, the families of all those who died in the Connecticut shooting.
There are really not many precautions you can take when a person appears out of nowhere in a public place, pulls out a gun and starts shooting. Often, the details of mass murders are hashed out day after day, month after month and year after year. Several questions are asked, the most important of them being: What could the victims have done to protect themselves? If it happened at a specific location such as a school or a shopping center, what could the school district or management company have done better to prevent such tragedies? The answers to these questions are by no means simple or straightforward.
However, safety experts are recommending several actions you can take if you are ever stuck in the wrong place at the wrong time. The first and most instinctive thing you could do when someone opens fire in a public place is to run. If you cannot get away, create a barricade. This could mean getting behind a locked door, hiding in a closet, a vehicle or under a desk or table. Safety experts also recommend every family to sit down, talk these issues out, and create a plan of action. If you know what to do, you are more likely to follow through and survive, if you ever get into such an unfortunate situation.
Photo courtesy Orange County Register.