The mall, near Pacific Coast Highway in the heart of Newport Beach, was crowded with holiday shoppers and the parking lot was full. Many people ran into stores, a movie theater and other businesses.
“It’s a miracle nobody got injured,” said Sven Maric, who said he was celebrating his wife’s birthday at a restaurant patio about 50 yards away. “The bullets had to land somewhere, and he shot so many.”
Some stores voluntarily closed their doors and kept shoppers inside while police investigated.
Bret McGaughey, 22, of Laguna Beach, said he was with his mom in the Apple store when shoppers ran to the rear of the store as employees locked the front entrance. He estimated that up to 100 people stayed in the back of the store for about 30 minutes until Apple employees announced that police said it was safe to reopen the doors.
Gurrola is a licensed security guard whose firearm permit expired in 2001, according to the Orange County Register, which cited state records.
Gurrola doesn’t appear to have a criminal record, the newspaper said.
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.