NEWPORT BEACH, Calif. (AP) — A man who fired about 50 shots in the parking lot of a crowded Southern California shopping mall, sending shoppers sprinting for safety, was cooperative when officers took him into custody, authorities said Sunday.
Witnesses said people ran, screaming and ducking for cover, when 42-year-old Marcos Gurrola fired into the air and onto the ground Saturday afternoon near the Macy's department store at the open-air Fashion Island mall in Newport Beach.
He paused to reload several times, police said.
Then Gurrola put the gun down and offered no resistance when bicycle officers arrested him, said Lt. John Lewis.
"He just gave up," Lewis said.
As investigators worked to determine a motive, the police chief of this upscale Orange County city said he believed Gurrola fired shots as a "way of venting his life problems."
Beach Police Chief David McGill told the Los Angeles Times that the gunman was "unhappy about a lot in life and decided this was his best way of releasing his tension."
McGill also expressed relief that no one was hit by the gunfire.
"Thank God he pointed up," he said. "Luck was on our side."
Gurrola, of Garden Grove, was charged with shooting at an inhabited dwelling. He was being held Sunday on $250,000 bail. Police recovered a handgun and ammunition.
Officials said one person suffered a minor injury while running away, and was treated at the scene.
The gunfire caused panic, coming a day after a gunman killed 26 children and adults at a Connecticut elementary school, and days after a deadly mall shooting in Oregon.
The Fashion Island mall was crowded with holiday shoppers and the parking lot was full. Many people ran into stores, a movie theater and other businesses.
Some stores voluntarily closed their doors and kept shoppers inside while police investigated.
Gurrola is a licensed security guard whose firearm permit expired in 2001, according to the Orange County Register, which cited state records.
He doesn't appear to have a criminal record, the newspaper reported.
A telephone number for a Marcos Gurrola was disconnected.
On Tuesday, a gunman at an Oregon shopping mall killed two people and wounded a third amid a holiday crowd estimated at 10,000 people. Clackamas County authorities are still trying to determine why the gunman opened fire before killing himself.