Woman Cradled Son, 9, As Gunman Fatally Shot Him In California Attack

Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer talks during a news conference at the Orange Police Department headquarters in Orange Calif. Thursday

Police in California say the gunman who allegedly killed four people at an office complex yesterday, including a 9-year-old boy, locked the gates before the attack to prevent officers from gaining access. Investigators will spend the coming days trying to determine the exact sequence of events, she said.

Amat added that the department could not release the names of the victims at this time because their next of kin have not yet been notified.

Among the victims of the "horrific massacre" on Wednesday afternoon was a nine-year-old boy who was found cradled in the arms of a woman believed to be his mother, Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer said.

A person who worked in the building told the Associated Press that since the pandemic began, parents would often bring their children to work.

A fifth victim, a woman, was found with the boy.

"It appears the suspect used a bicycle-type cable lock to secure the gates from the inside, from both the north and the south sides of the courtyard", Amat said.

The suspect in the California shooting was identified as Aminadab Gaxiola Gonzalez, 44, of nearby Fullerton.

The suspect, identified as Aminadab Gaxiola Gonzalez, 44, was also wounded and hospitalized. Gonzalez is believed to have been living in a motel room in Anaheim, Amat said.

When officers arrived two minutes later, Amat said, shots were actively being fired inside the business complex. "An officer-involved shooting occurred", the Orange Police Department said in a post to their Facebook page. The shooting killed several people, including a child, and injured another person before police shot the suspect, police said. He was shot during the onslaught and authorities are investigating whether he was hit by police or self-inflicted gunfire.

"It appears all of the adults were connected either by business or a personal relationships", Amat said. The latest shooting follows two others in as many weeks: one in Boulder, Colorado, and another in the greater Atlanta area in Georgia.

Orange Police Department shows Aminadab Gaxiola Gonzalez a 44-year-old Fullerton Calif. man who is the suspect in a shooting that occurred inside a counseling business in Orange Calif. on Wednesday

Police said the shooter apparently targeted the office suites of a company called Unified Homes, a mobile home brokerage.

Along with the gun, Amat said, a backpack was found that contained pepper spray, handcuffs and ammunition.

Orange is about 48 kilometres from Los Angeles and home to about 140,000 people.

People gathered outside the building after the shooting hoping to get word about loved ones.

Authorities remained on scene Thursday to complete the investigation.

© Jae C. Hong, AP People are pictured comforting each other as they stand near a business building where a shooting occurred in Orange, California.

Spitzer emphasized that the suspect is eligible for the death penalty under California law because there were multiple victims.

At a late morning news conference, Spitzer said: "It's not really a good morning even though it's lovely outside".

Spitzer said that over the course of his tenure he had reviewed almost 20 murder cases for whether to pursue the death penalty, but he has never filed one death case.

He heard at least 10 more gunshots after that, he said.