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Business partner of shooting suspect at mall in Victorville expresses heartfelt remorse over young victim

Co-owner of shoe store in Mall of Victor Valley permanently closes shop after business partner shoot 02:50

As police work to extradite 20-year-old Marqel Cockrell back to San Bernardino County, where he's accused of shooting a 9-year-old girl named Ava inside the Mall of Victor Valley Tuesday night, his business partner was expressing her heartfelt sorrow over what happened to the little girl. 

RELATED: Shoe store owner Marqel Cockrell allegedly opened fire on shoplifters, instead hit 9-year-old girl at Victorville mall

(credit: Robin Saldarelli)

Young Ava, who suffered three gunshot wound to the arm, was able to keep a smile on her face during the ambulance ride to the hospital. 

Amairani Sanchez, who co-owns the shoe store Sole Addicts with Cockrell, admitted that the 9-year-old's smile had a big impact on her. 

"It broke me," she said. "That's what touched me, when I seen that little girl smile. I knew I had to do the right thing." 

Sanchez said the right thing to do was to permanently shutdown her and Cockrell's store in the Mall of Victor Valley and offer help to Ava and her family.

"I don't care about the shop. That little girl, she's in my prayers." 

RELATED: "She's a trooper": Girl shot at Victorville mall recovering from 3 gunshot wounds to arm

The 21-year-old Sanchez said that the resale sneaker shop was her dream and that she now realizes she made a big mistake by bringing Cockrell on as a business partner. 

"This was my dream and for someone who doesn't have the right mindset as me to take it away, it really hurts," she said, adding that her business partner overreacted to some shirts getting stolen. 

Police said Cockrell was chasing shoplifters out of the store Tuesday night when he started firing a gun inside the crowded mall, hitting the 9-year-old girl who was waiting in line to take a photo with the Easter bunny, instead of the alleged shoplifters. 

20-year-old Marqel Cockrell (credit: LVMPD)

Cockrell fled the scene, but was found at about 9 p.m. by Nevada Highway Patrol and taken into custody. He is being held at Clark County Jail in Nevada on an extraditable warrant, for attempted murder, in the amount of $1 million.  

Sanchez said her store has been targeted by thieves before, but that she handled that the professional way, when she purchased theft insurance. 

"So, we knew it was gonna come. I just don't even know what was going through his head to even pull it out, but it could have been solved so differently," she said.

The San Bernardino Sheriff's Department told CBSLA they are also looking for the alleged shoplifting suspects. 

As for 9-year-old girl, her grandmother said Ava's shattered arm should heal on its own, and added that she's glad police caught Cockrell.  

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