The alleged gunman who fatally shot four people — including a 9-year-old boy whose body was found wrapped in the arms of his mother — locked the gates to the business complex before carrying out the slaughter, authorities said Thursday.
The suspect was identified as Aminadab Gaxiola Gonzalez, 44, a Fullerton resident who had a “business and personal relationship” with each of his victims, Orange Police Department Lt. Jennifer Amat told reporters at a morning press conference.
Gonzalez allegedly chained the gates at West Lincoln Avenue business complex shut ahead of the 5:30 p.m. melee on Wednesday — and responding police had to use bolt cutters to gain access as the accused killer was still firing shots inside.
Four people were killed — one male, two females and the 9-year-old boy. Another woman was injured in the melee and taken to the hospital.
“This was not random,” said Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer.
“They were all known to each other.” Spitzer added, “It appeared that a little boy died in his mother’s arms as she tried to save him.”
The county’s top prosecutor didn’t go into specifics but provided a glimpse into a possible motive.
“It is a horrible, horrible tragedy that Mr. Gonzalez made the decision to use deadly force to deal with issues he was dealing with in his … life,” he said.
Gonzalez was also wounded in his shootout with police — though it’s not clear whether it was a self-inflicted injury or if he was shot by police.
He was in critical but stable condition Thursday, officials said.
Bystander video showed the bloodied gunman being dragged out of the building by police.
The slaughter began inside one of the building’s suites before moving into the courtyard, Amat told reporters on Wednesday night.
A firearm was recovered at the scene.
The complex houses roughly a dozen businesses, including a Farmers Insurance office, financial consulting firm, phone repair shop and a mental health counseling office.
The Wednesday shooting was the worst the city of Orange has seen since 1997, when a man seeking revenge on his employer gunned down four people.
The California rampage is the third mass shooting in the US in three weeks. Eight people, including six Asian women, were killed in shootings at spas in Atlanta, Georgia and 10 were murdered at a supermarket in Boulder, Colorado.