A 44-year-old Fullerton man accused of going on a shooting spree at a business complex in Orange this week was charged Friday with four counts of murder and three counts of attempted murder.
Two of the murder-attempt counts Aminadab Gaxiola Gonzalez faces are for trying to kill police officers, the Orange County District Attorney’s Office said. No officer was hurt.
On Friday, Orange police confirmed the victims as Jenevieve Raygoza, 28; Luis Tovar, 50; Leticia Solis Guzman, 58; and Matthew Farias, 9. Jenevieve Raygoza sometimes spelled her first name “Genevieve.” Matthew’s mother Blanca Ismeralda Tamayo was in the hospital in critical condition, said Rafael Farias, Matthew’s father.
The working theory of the case involves a personal conflict between Tovar and Gonzalez, authorities said.
Gonzalez also faces four felony enhancements of the personal discharge of a firearm causing death, one felony enhancement of the personal discharge of a firearm causing great bodily injury, one felony enhancement of premeditation, one felony enhancement of the personal use of a firearm, and one felony enhancement of the personal discharge of a firearm.
The District Attorney’s Office is also alleging special circumstances for multiple murders and says Gonzalez, if convicted of all charges, is eligible for the death penalty.
On Wednesday night, Gonzalez was shot in the head by a police officer with a rifle, authorities confirmed Friday. He was expected to be arraigned at his hospital bed on Friday afternoon, where he remained in critical condition, but the hearing was postponed until Monday.
As of mid-afternoon on Friday, Gonzalez was unconscious, said his attorney, Assistant Public Defender Ken Morrison.
From early on, District Attorney Todd Spitzer shared that the death penalty could be on the table for the “horrific” shootings.
Shortly after 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday, multiple 911 calls were made about a male shooting into a business at 202 W. Lincoln Avenue, Orange police Lt. Jennifer Amat said. Two officers arrived within two minutes and were met by Gonzalez’s gunfire and fired back.
Gonzalez wielded a Glock semi-automatic handgun, authorities confirmed Friday.
The gates into the two-story business complex had been secured shut by bicycle cable locks, delaying the officers’ entry.
Once inside the gates, they found Gonzalez wounded. They also found the four dead victims and the wounded woman.
“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,” Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer said in a statement.
“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.”
The 9-year-old victim, Matthew Farias, was in the third grade at a Santa Ana school.
“The entire Santa Ana Unified School District community is heartbroken by this senseless act of violence that took the life of our third-grade student Matthew Farias, of Hoover Elementary School,” the district said in a Friday statement. “Our thoughts are with our student’s family, along with the families of all others affected by this incident.”
Family members said Luis Tovar had two children with Blanca Tamayo, including one of the other victims, Jenevieve Raygoza. Matthew Farias, who also was killed, and whose father is Rafael Farias, was Tamayo’s young son. Leticia Solis Guzman worked at Unified Homes – a mobile home sales office that was the site of the killings -.with Tovar and Tamayo.
Vania Tovar, 28, lost her dad and sister — Luis Tovar and Jenevieve Raygoza — in the shooting.
She said Friday that the suspect is the husband of a former employee at Unified Homes. Tovar’s father Luis owned the company with his wife Karla Tovar.
“We’ve met him many times,” Vania Tovar said. “We invited (the suspect’s wife) to barbecues and birthday parties. She would come and he would join her.
“We treated everyone who worked for my dad like family,” Vania Tovar said.
It was heart-wrenching to learn that Tamayo, who was critically injured, was trying to protect her son at the time of his death, said Brenda Ramirez, a cousin of Rafael Farias.
“Oh, God,” Ramirez said. “Rafael was just devastated by that. They tried to get away but couldn’t because the gates were locked.
“No one understands why this happened. Why? It would be easier to understand a car accident or an illness. But to lose a child to violence — gun violence, no less? Why are we having to experience this?”
At the crime scene on Friday afternoon, Martha Villegas, 46, prayed the Rosary and brought a white candle for the victims along with her son.
Villegas said she’s known Solis for about 10 years and saw her three months ago while buying a house in Anaheim.
Solis was very professional, always had a smile on her face and would make jokes, Villegas said.
“She was a very strong woman who worked hard for her kids,” she said.
Villegas also remembers meeting Tovar while signing papers at the office space. She described him as kind.
Some investigators brought out bags, presumably of evidence, to vans as police officers took down yellow tape in front of the office building. A fence company put up a chain-link fence around the property in preparation for reopening the street.
Villegas and her son picked up four bouquets of flowers that others had been left by others farther away, to bring them closer to the office space.
Staff writers Sean Emery and Roxana Kopetman contributed to this report.
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