Officials work outside the scene of a shooting, Thursday, April 1, 2021 in Orange, Calif. (Paul Bersebach/The Orange County Register via AP)

Officials work outside the scene of a shooting, Thursday, April 1, 2021 in Orange, Calif. (Paul Bersebach/The Orange County Register via AP)

California office shooting that killed 4 wasn’t random, police say

The suspect knew all the victims and his motive may have involved personal or business relationships

A gunman who killed four people, including a 9-year-old boy, in a rampage at a Southern California office building knew all the victims and his motive may have involved personal or business relationships, police said.

“This was not a random act of violence,” Lt. Jennifer Amat said Thursday of the attack at a two-story building that housed small businesses in Orange, southeast of Los Angeles.

Aminadab Gaxiola Gonzalez, 44, was identified as the suspected shooter. He was in critical but stable condition. It wasn’t clear whether he was wounded by police or shot himself, Amat said.

Gonzalez, from nearby Fullerton, was staying at a motel in the neighbouring city of Anaheim and used a rented car to arrive at the office building on Lincoln Avenue. He chained the front and rear gates to the complex with bicycle cable locks and was spotted on security video wearing a bandana over his face, brandishing a semiautomatic handgun and hauling a backpack that contained pepper spray, handcuffs and ammunition, police said.

He targeted Unified Homes, a mobile home brokerage business, authorities said.

The dead included a 9-year-old boy who was found cradled in the arms of a wounded woman, who was in critical but stable condition. A family member identified one victim as Luis Tovar, 50, who owned Unified Homes.

“Our world is shattered,” 28-year-old Vania Tovar, one of Tovar’s five children, told The Orange County Register.

Thalia Tovar, another one of his children, said in a GoFundMe page that her sister Genevieve Raygoza was also killed. She said Leticia Solis and Matthew Farias, a young boy, were also among the victims. Posts on the same GoFundMe page identified Farias’ mother, Blanca Tamayo, as the attack’s wounded survivor.

Orange County coroner officials would not immediately confirm the identities of the victims, said Carrie Braun, a spokesperson for the county sheriff’s department.

Reports of shots fired in the city of Orange sent officers to the scene within two minutes, and they exchanged gunfire with the shooter through a gate before the locks were cut, Amat said. A man was found dead inside an office, a woman in another office and a second woman was found on an outdoor landing upstairs.

“It appears that a little boy died in his mother’s arms as she was trying to save him during this horrific massacre,” Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer said.

The preliminary motive is believed to be related to a business and personal relationship between the suspect and victims, Amat said. She said the precise relationships were still being determined.

The violence was the nation’s third major mass shooting in just over two weeks. Last week a gunman opened fire at a supermarket in Boulder, Colorado, and killed 10. A week before that, six Asian women were among eight people killed at three Atlanta-area spas.

Scott Clark, who is owner of Calco Financial that is two doors down from Unified Homes, said he has seen about 10 people working inside Unified Homes but doesn’t know them well. He said he has chatted with Luis Tovar, sometimes inviting him inside his own office to take a break, and described him as hard-working.

“He’s there day and night,” Clark said.

Clark left his office on Wednesday around 4:45 p.m., earlier than usual.

“I must have had an angel from God watching out for me to make me leave an hour before I usually do,” he said.

Gonzalez was charged in 2015 in Orange County with cruelty to a child and other counts. He pleaded guilty to misdemeanour battery and served one day in jail. All other counts were dismissed, and the conviction was expunged in 2017, said Lauren Gold, spokeswoman for the city of Anaheim.

ShootingUnited States

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

B.C. Finance Minister Selina Robinson outlines the province’s three-year budget in Victoria, April 20, 2021. (B.C. government video)
B.C. deficit to grow by $19 billion for COVID-19 recovery spending

Pandemic-year deficit $5 billion lower than forecast

FILE – Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs have agreed to sign a memorandum on rights and title with B.C. and Ottawa, but elected chiefs are demanding it be called off over lack of consultation. (Thom Barker photo)
Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs, Lake Babine Nation get provincial funding for land, title rights

Government says it’s a new, flexible model for future agreements between Canada, B.C. and First Nations.

The property on which a residential school (pictured) that was torn down years ago in Lower Post is to be the location of a cultural centre. (Indian Residential School History and Dialogue Centre photo)
Lower Post residential school building to be demolished, replaced with cultural centre

Project to be funded by federal and provincial governments, Daylu Dena Council

Photo collage of loved ones lost to substance use and overdose. (Photo courtesy Moms Stop The Harm)
B.C. overdose deaths still rising 5 years after public health emergency declared

Moms Stop the Harm calls on B.C. to provide safe supply in response to deadly illicit drug use

Restaurant patrons enjoy the weather on a patio in Vancouver, B.C., Monday, April 5, 2021. The province has suspended indoor dining at restaurants and pubs until at least April 19 in B.C. due to a spike in COVID-19 numbers. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. sets new COVID-19 daily record with 1,293 cases Thursday

New order allows workplace closures when infections found

A large crowd protested against COVID-19 measures at Sunset Beach in Vancouver on Tuesday, April 20, 2021. (Snapchat)
VIDEO: Large, police-patrolled crowds gather at Vancouver beach for COVID protests

Vancouver police said they patrolled the area and monitored all gatherings

(Bandstra Transportation photo)
Smithers family-owned business institution sold to publicly-traded company

Bandstra Transportation and Babine Trucking acquired by Mullen Group

FILE – The Instagram app is shown on an iPhone in Toronto on Monday, March 19, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graeme Roy
Judge acquits B.C. teen boy ‘set up’ on sex assault charge based on Instagram messages

The girl and her friends did not have ‘good intentions’ towards the accused, judge says

Kai Palkeinen recently helped a car stuck on the riverbed near the Big Eddy Bridge. While the car could not be saved, some of the driver’s belongings were. It’s common for vehicles to get stuck in the area due to significantly changing river levels from Revelstoke Dam. (Photo by Kai Palkeinen)
“I just sank a car’: Revelstoke resident tries to save vehicle from the Columbia River

Although it’s not permitted, the riverbed near the city is popular for off roading

Meng Wanzhou, chief financial officer of Huawei, walks down the street with an acquaintance after leaving B.C. Supreme Court during a lunch break at her extradition hearing, in Vancouver, B.C., Thursday, April 1, 2021. A judge is scheduled to release her decision today on a request to delay the final leg of hearings in Meng Wanzhou’s extradition case. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Rich Lam
B.C. judge grants Meng Wanzhou’s request to delay extradition hearings

Lawyers for Canada’s attorney general had argued there is no justification to delay proceedings in the case

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

B.C. Premier John Horgan announces travel restrictions between the province’s regional health authorities at the legislature, April 19, 2021. (B.C. government photo)
B.C. sees 862 more COVID-19 cases Wednesday, seven deaths

Recreational travel restrictions set to begin Friday

B.C. Finance Minister Selina Robinson is photographed following her budget speech in the legislative assembly at the provincial legislature in Victoria, Tuesday, April 20, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. budget lacks innovative drive, vision during uncertain times, say experts

Finance Minister Selina Robinson’s budget sets out to spend $8.7 billion over three years on infrastructure

Most Read