Authorities have identified 44-year-old Aminadab Gaxiola Gonzalez as the gunman who allegedly opened fire inside a California office building on Wednesday, killing four people in what officials said was a “business dispute.”
During a Thursday press conference, police said they were looking into whether Gonzalez chained the gates to the Orange County office complex and lay in wait before opening fire and killing four people—including a 9-year-old—and wounding another. While authorities have not named the victims, they have identified them as one man, two females, and a 9-year-old boy. A female and Gonzalez are being treated at a local hospital.
“It appears a little boy died in his mother’s arms as she was trying to save him during this horrific massacre,” Orange County District Attorney Public Administrator Todd Spitzer said Thursday, adding that Gonzalez may be eligible for the death penalty if convicted.
Spitzer said the “horrific rampage” was the result of a “targeted” attack. All the victims knew Gonzalez through business or personal relationships.
At around 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday, police responded to reports of shots fired at the offices of Unified Homes, a real estate business and mobile home seller located in the complex alongside other businesses.
A law enforcement source told ABC7 said the gunman shot “into the windows” after locking the courtyard. Since the gates were chained shut with bike cable locks, officers were forced to engage Gonzalez from the outside while they waited for bolt cutters. Gonzalez was also armed with pepper spray and handcuffs, police said.
Eventually, Gonzalez was apprehended with a gunshot wound—though authorities did not say if it was sustained by an officer or self-inflicted.
In the complex’s courtyard, police then found two victims, the young boy and a woman who remains in critical condition. On the upstairs outdoor landing, police found a woman fatally shot. Two others were found inside the office.
Lt. Jennifer Amat, a spokeswoman for the Orange Police Department, said Thursday that police found a semi-automatic handgun, a backpack with pepper spray, handcuffs, and ammunition in the scene. They believe it belonged to Gonzalez.
Public records list Gonzalez’s address as a mobile home park in Anaheim that appears to be closed. He is listed as the owner of three trucking businesses and a relative of a licensed real estate agent who works for Unified Homes.
Gonzalez’s family did not immediately respond to The Daily Beast's requests for comment.
One man who identified himself as a friend of one of the victims posted on Facebook: “He killed my friend for whatever reason. Why no one knows. It’s just a sad thing to hear. Never in a million years would I think something like this could happen to him.”
Wednesday’s massacre marks the third mass shooting in the United States in two weeks. A gunman in Atlanta killed eight people in three Asian massage parlors. Days later, a 21-year-old man killed ten people inside a King Soopers grocery store in Boulder, Colorado.