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Man shot to death over fender-bender at California Walmart; woman charged with murder

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By Yosi Yahoudai
Founder and Managing Partner

Jonathan Mauk, 59, was shot to death in the parking lot of the Walmart on E. Highland Avenue after a minor traffic collision on Feb. 5, 2024. Shawntece Marie Norton, 36, was arrested on suspicion of murder and pleaded not guilty to the charge. (Courtesy of Matthew Mauk)

Prosecutors have charged a 36-year-old woman with murder in the shooting death of a man in a Walmart parking lot in Highland that followed an altercation over a minor traffic collision, officials said Monday.

The final moments of 59-year-old Jonathan Mauk’s life were spent driving a classic car he had admired — a custom-built 1998 Chevrolet Camaro Supersport gifted by the son who owned it, said Matthew Mauk, who identified himself as one of Mauk’s three sons. His father, a San Bernardino resident, had driven to Walmart on the night of Feb. 5 to get supplies to make beef jerky, the son said.

The elder Mauk was backing up after passing a parking spot when he collided with a car that was backing out of another spot, said San Bernardino police Capt. Nelson Carrington. Mauk got out of his car to apologize to the other driver, said Matthew Mauk, citing a detective he spoke with.

“There was a verbal altercation, and that’s when per witness accounts, the suspect retrieved a firearm and shot the victim,” Carrington said. “It’s my understanding that the suspect is the one who did all of the yelling.”

The suspect, Shawntece Marie Norton, 36, was carrying the gun at the time, and got out of her car and fired, Carrington said. Mauk died at the scene.

Mauk cruised the streets of San Bernardino and Riverside as a teen after building his own performance car, and had since grown into more adult pursuits, repairing and restoring others’ classic cars.

“Jon got to the point where I thought he knew how to rebuild things, making the car better than it was, and he enjoyed that,” said Bill Carey, Mauk’s boss at Carey’s Fine Automobiles in San Bernardino.

Carey was speaking Monday from St. Bernardine’s Medical Center in San Bernardino, where he checked himself in for a new round of treatment for a heart problem Friday after being stunned to learn that his protege had been shot to death on Feb. 5 in the parking lot of the Walmart at 4210 E. Highland Ave. after a minor traffic collision.

“It totally shocked me. It put me back in the hospital,” Carey said.

The San Bernardino County District Attorney’s Office has charged Norton with murder and sentencing enhancements of using a firearm in the commission of a felony and using a firearm to cause great bodily harm. She has pleaded not guilty to all charges.

Jonathan Mauk stands in front of the customized Camaro that he was driving on Feb. 5, 2024, when he was involved in a traffic collision in the parking lot of the Walmart on Highland Avenue in San Bernardino. The other driver, Shawntece Marie Norton, 36, shot Mauk to death, San Bernardino police said. She has pleaded not guilty to a charge of murder. (Courtesy of Matthew Mauk)
Jonathan Mauk stands in front of the customized Camaro that he was driving on Feb. 5, 2024, when he was involved in a traffic collision in the parking lot of the Walmart on Highland Avenue in San Bernardino. The other driver, Shawntece Marie Norton, 36, shot Mauk to death, San Bernardino police said. She has pleaded not guilty to a charge of murder. (Courtesy of Matthew Mauk) 

Norton was arrested the next day, Feb. 6, at an apartment complex at 26080 Baseline in an unincorporated area near the city of Highland where Carrington said police recovered an unregistered gun that they believe was used in the killing.

Norton was arraigned Thursday in Superior Court in San Bernardino and was being held without bail at West Valley Detention Center in Rancho Cucamonga. She is due back in court on Feb. 15. Norton does not have any documented criminal convictions in San Bernardino County, court records show.

Matthew Mauk, 34, of Victorville, said it was difficult to fathom his father being killed in a confrontation over a traffic collision. He recalled his father being in a previous crash and was more concerned for the others than himself.

“He was very, very self-sacrificing. He’d do anything to help anyone,” Mauk said.

His father once owned a tow truck company and would pull over to help motorists even if they hadn’t called. He’d fix others’ cars in front of auto parts stores and once loaned a friend money for a down payment on a house.

“The good of man was more important to him,” Mauk said. “He loved the community, he loved his country.”

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About the Author
Yosi Yahoudai is a founder and the managing partner of J&Y. His practice is comprised primarily of cases involving automobile and motorcycle accidents, but he also represents people in premises liability lawsuits, including suits alleging dangerous conditions of public property, third-party criminal conduct, and intentional torts. He also has expertise in cases involving product defects, dog bites, elder abuse, and sexual assault. He earned his Bachelor of Arts from the University of California and is admitted to practice in all California State Courts, and the United States District Court for the Southern District of California. If you have any questions about this article, you can contact Yosi by clicking here.
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