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

Starting in June, Government Street will be closed to most vehicles between Humboldt and View streets. A section of Government Street was transformed into a pedestrian-priority walkway in the wake of COVID-19. (Black Press Media file photo)
Victoria plans 10-hour closures of Government Street come June

City’s business relief plan extended, Government St. from Humboldt to View closed noon to 10 p.m.

Cyclists cruised around Saanich at the 2017 Cycling Festival. (Black Press Media file photo)
Saanich scavenger hunt replaces annual Cycling Festival

Participants encouraged to ‘walk or roll’ to 20 secret sites, submit photo proof for prizes

As part of the province’s strategy to combat the opioid overdose crisis, take-home naloxone kits have been distributed throughout the province. (Courtesy of Gaëlle Nicolussi)
Vancouver Island could be at its worst point of overdose crises yet: medical health officer

Island Health issued overdose advisories for Victoria, various communities in the last two weeks

This photo shows crews the fire at 7987 Galbraith Cres. that caused extensive damage and displaced six residents early Sunday morning. (Central Saanich Fire/Department Twitter)
Central Saanich rallies around couple who lost home of 25 years

A GoFundMe campaign is currently underway for Carla and Brian Wallace

Police are looking for this suspect after a man was stabbed on Pandora Avenue Tuesday night. (Photo courtesy of Victoria Police Department)
Police seek suspect in Victoria stabbing

The stabbing took place in the 900-block of Pandora Avenue, just before 8:30 p.m. on Tuesday

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and United States President Joe Biden smile as they say farewell following a virtual joint statement in Ottawa, Tuesday, February 23, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Trudeau pledges to cut emissions by 40% to 45% by 2030, short of U.S. goal

Trudeau announced target during a virtual climate summit convened by U.S. President Joe Biden

(Black Press Media file photo)
POLL: Have rising prices caused you to give up hope of buying a home?

Do you have a spare 50 grand or so kicking around (have… Continue reading

Anyone with information on any of these individuals is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit the website victoriacrimestoppers.ca for more information.
Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of April 20

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

MLA Shirley Bond, right, answers questions during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on February 19, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Former B.C. gaming minister says she wasn’t told directly about dirty cash flowing to casinos

Shirley Bond said Thursday civil forfeiture, gang violence and gambling addiction were also major concerns in 2011

RCMP Constable Etsell speaks to tourists leaving the area at a police roadblock on Westside Road south of Fintry, B.C., Thursday, July 23, 2009. THE CANADIAN PRESS/ Yvonne Berg
B.C. police say they take ‘exception’ to conducting roadblocks limiting travel

Asking the police to enforce roadblocks exposes officers to further risk and possible COVID-19 infections, says federation president Brian Sauve

The conservation service confirmed they do not relocate cougars from settled areas but that euthanasia is not necessarily the fate for an animal in the Fanny Bay area. The hope is that the animal will move on to wild areas. (File photo)
Woman hopes cat-stalking Fanny Bay cougar can avoid euthanization

Conservation officers do not relocate the animals from Vancouver Island

Tofino residents expressed frustration over a recent post by Long Beach Lodge owner Tim Hackett that falsely claimed all residents have been vaccinated. (Westerly file photo)
Resort owner apologizes for suggesting Tofino is safe to travel to

Long Beach Lodge owner Tim Hackett apologizes to community and visitors

BC Hydro released a survey Thursday, April 22. It found that many British Columbians are unintentionally contributing to climate change with their yard maintenance choices. (Pixabay)
Spend a lot of time doing yard work? It might be contributing to climate change

Recent BC Hydro survey finds 60% of homeowners still use gas-powered lawnmowers and yard equipment

Journal de Montreal is seen in Montreal, on Thursday, April 22, 2021. The daily newspaper uses a file picture of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau dressed in traditional Indian clothing during his trip to India to illustrate a story on the Indian variant of the coronavirus. Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press
Montreal newspaper blasted for front-page photo of Trudeau in India

Trudeau is wearing traditional Indian clothes and holding his hands together in prayer beside a caption that reads, ‘The Indian variant has arrived’

Most Read