Three family members, including a 9-year-old boy found by responding officer cradled in a wounded woman’s arms, were among four people killed when a gunman opened fire at an office building in Orange.
Family members have identified victims killed in the attack, including Luis Tovar, 50, who owned mobile home brokerage business Unified Homes. Police said people at the business were targeted in the attack that left four people dead and another victim hospitalized.
Friends said Tovar Sr. had just celebrated his 50th birthday.
“He was a hard-working guy,” said Luis Tovar Jr. “He always put his family first. Always put others in front of himself.
“I lost my father, my mother, my little brother, and I believe my sister’s in critical condition.”
Luis Tovar Jr. said his mother, Blanca Tomayo, and 9-year-old half-brother, Matthew, also were killed in the shooting.
“She was super loving, very loving mom. Same as dad — she put others in front of her ,” Tovar Jr. said.
The boy was found by police cradled in the arms of a wounded woman, identified by Tovar Jr. as his sister Genevive, who was hospitalized in critical condition.
A fourth deceased victim was identified as a woman who was a co-worker at the brokerage business.
“Our world is shattered,” 28-year-old Vania Tovar, one of Tovar’s five children, told the Orange County Register.
Scott Clark, who is owner of Calco Financial that is two doors down from Unified Homes, described Luis Tovar 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.
Clark said he has worked out of the building for about 21 years, and Unified Homes has been in that location for seven or eight years. He said they expanded to a second suite about a year ago, and both offices were on the second level.
Clark said he has seen about 10 people working inside Unified Homes but doesn’t know them well. He said he has chatted with Tovar, sometimes inviting him inside his own office to take a break.
2Details about the connection between Tovar Sr. and the shooter were not immediately available, but authorities said all the individuals had some type of business or personal relationship. Gonzalez’s wife worked at Unified Homes two years ago, police said.
“This was not a random act of violence,” Orange Police Lt. Jennifer Amat said. “We believe everyone knew each other, whether through a business or personal relationship.”
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.
“Why, is the only thing,” said long-time family friend and business owner Alec Torres. “I don’t know what his motive was.
“It’s just, why did you do this? Why did you have to ruin so many lives?”
Gonzalez, from nearby Fullerton, was staying at a motel in neighboring Anaheim and used a rented car to arrive at the two-story office building on Lincoln Avenue, Amat said.
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 semautomatic handgun and hauling a backpack that contained pepper spray, handcuffs and ammunition, police said.
Reports of shots fired 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.
Gonzalez was taken into custody and remains hospitalized in critical condition.
The violence in the city of Orange 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.