The gunfire caused panic, coming a day after a gunman killed 26 children and adults at a Connecticut elementary school, and days after a deadly mall shooting in Oregon.
The Fashion Island mall was crowded with holiday shoppers and the parking lot was full. Many people ran into stores, a movie theater and other businesses.
Some stores voluntarily closed their doors and kept shoppers inside while police investigated.
Gurrola is a licensed security guard whose firearm permit expired in 2001, according to the Orange County Register, which cited state records.
He doesn't appear to have a criminal record, the newspaper reported.
A telephone number for a Marcos Gurrola was disconnected.
On Tuesday, a gunman at an Oregon shopping mall killed two people and wounded a third amid a holiday crowd estimated at 10,000 people. Clackamas County authorities are still trying to determine why the gunman opened fire before killing himself.