Suspect in California shooting charged with murder as victims are identified

Law enforcement respond to the scene of a shooting that left four people dead at an office building in Orange County on Wednesday in Orange, Calif. Kent Nishimura/Los Angeles Times/TNS

LOS ANGELES — The suspect in a shooting in an Orange business that killed four people, including a 9-year-old boy, this week has been charged with multiple counts of murder and attempted murder, the Orange County district attorney’s office announced Friday.

The charges against Aminadab Gaxiola Gonzalez, 44, of Fullerton, Calif., who is hospitalized and in critical condition, were announced as the identities of the victims emerged.

Authorities on Friday identified three of the four people who were killed when a gunman opened fire Wednesday night inside Unified Homes, a manufactured homes business.

The Orange County Police Department said the victims include Genevieve Raygoza, 28, Luis Tovar, 50, and Matthew Farias, 9. The identity of the fourth person who was killed has not been confirmed by police or coroner’s officials.

Another woman remains hospitalized in critical condition after suffering multiple gunshot wounds, according to a family member.

Gonzalez has been charged with four counts of murder, one count of attempted murder and two counts of attempted murder of a police officer, all felonies, according to the DA’s office.

He has also been charged with four felony enhancements of the personal discharge of a firearm causing death, and one felony enhancement each for the personal discharge of a firearm causing great bodily injury, premeditation, the personal use of a firearm and the personal discharge of a firearm. Prosecutors are also alleging the special circumstance of multiple murders.

Gonzalez was hospitalized Wednesday after exchanging gunfire with two police officers in the courtyard of the office complex where the shooting occurred, according to authorities

Police said he locked the gates to the complex with bicycle cables before opening fire on the victims.

Calling it a “horrific massacre,” Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer said Thursday that the severity of the crimes meant his office could seek the death penalty.

“It’s a horrible, horrible tragedy,” Spitzer said, “that Mr. Gonzalez made a decision to use deadly force to deal with issues he was dealing with in his life. So he will suffer the consequences.”

Kimberly Edds, a spokeswoman for the district attorney’s office, said Gonzalez’s arraignment is expected to be postponed. Gonzalez is in critical but stable condition.

Officers arrived at the office complex in the 200 block of Lincoln Avenue at about 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, minutes after receiving reports of shooting. They encountered gunfire and shot through the locked gates, wounding the gunman, said Orange police Lt. Jennifer Amat. They used bolt cutters to enter the complex.

Officers found two victims in the courtyard — the boy and a woman who was alive and taken to a hospital. Spitzer said it appeared that the boy died in the arms of a woman who “was trying to save him.”

Police said Gonzalez had a “business and personal relationship” with the victims and that the attack was not random.

“Our hearts are shattered into a million pieces as the community mourns the loss of four innocent lives, including a young boy, as a result of the horrific events that unfolded Wednesday evening and we pray for the recovery of the sole survivor,” Spitzer said in a statement Friday. “The taking of the life of another human being is the most serious of crimes and the slaughter of multiple people while they were essentially locked in a shooting gallery is nothing short of terrifying.”

“The residents of Orange County can rest assured that the District Attorney’s Office is taking every possible step to ensure that every aspect of this case and the subsequent officer-involved shooting is thoroughly reviewed and that justice will be served for each and every victim,” he added.

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