SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — Six people were killed and 12 injured before dawn Sunday in Sacramento when multiple gunmen fired into crowds as bars and nightclubs emptied for the night in the second shooting of mass in five weeks in the Californian capital ci
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — Six people were killed and 12 injured before dawn Sunday in Sacramento when multiple gunmen fired into crowds as bars and nightclubs emptied for the night in the second mass shooting in five weeks in the Californian capital, the police chief said.
Three men and three women were killed, Police Chief Kathy Lester told reporters. sergeant. Zach Eaton, a police department spokesman, said investigators believe there were at least two shooters.
The suspects remain at large and authorities said they found a stolen handgun and were reviewing video footage posted to social media that showed what appeared to be an altercation before the gunshots broke out.
Detectives were trying to determine the sequence of events before the shooting and Eaton said they “don’t know if that fight actually led to the shooting.”
A police camera captured part of the shooting, Lester said, and investigators located hundreds of pieces of evidence amid a scene Lester described as “really complex and convoluted” – so much so that the bodies of the victims remained in the street a few hours later. .
The crime scene spanned several blocks, with dozens of blue and yellow evidence markers dotting the sidewalk. At least four of the injured suffered life-threatening gunshot wounds in hospitals, officials said.
Kelsey Schar was staying on the fourth floor of the Citizen Hotel when she said she heard gunshots and saw lightning in the dark. She walked to the window and “saw a guy running and just shooting,” Schar told The Associated Press in an interview.
Her friend, Madalyn Woodard, said she saw a crowd in the street disperse amid gunfire and a girl who appeared to have been shot in the arm lying on the ground. Security guards from a nearby nightclub rushed to help the girl with what looked like towels to try and stop the bleeding.
Video posted to Twitter showed people running down the street amid the sounds of rapid gunfire in the city of about 525,000 people 120 kilometers from San Francisco.
The area where the violence occurred on the outskirts of the city’s main entertainment district is packed with restaurants and bars. Nightclubs close at 2am and it is normal for the streets to be full of people at that time.
The neighborhood is anchored by the Golden One Center which attracts big-name concerts and is home to the NBA’s Sacramento Kings, who host a Sunday night game against the Golden State Warriors. City officials have invested heavily in the area to promote development in the area, and police say there will be additional patrols downtown ahead of the basketball game.
“This morning our city is heartbroken,” said Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg. “We don’t know all the facts, but we do know that there have been massive casualties in a very short time.”
Officers were patrolling the area near the shooting site two blocks from the state capitol around 2 a.m. when they heard gunshots and rushed to the scene, Lester told reporters. They found a large crowd gathered and six people dead in the street.
Twelve other people were also shot and injured in the melee. Police urged witnesses or anyone with recordings of the shooting to contact police.
“We are asking for the public’s assistance to help us identify the suspects,” Lester said.
Pop duo Aly & AJ performed at the Crest Theater in Sacramento on Saturday and their tour bus was caught in the gunfire, the musicians said on Twitter. No one in their tour group was injured, the tweet read.
Sunday’s violence was the third time in the United States this year that at least six people have been killed in a mass shooting, according to a database compiled by The Associated Press, USA Today and Northeastern University. And it was the second mass shooting in Sacramento in the past five weeks.
On February 28, a father killed his three daughters, a chaperone and himself in a church during a supervised weekly visit. David Mora, 39, was armed with a homemade semi-automatic rifle-type weapon, despite being under a restraining order that prohibited him from owning a firearm.
Councilwoman Katie Valenzuela, who represents the area where the shooting happened, said she received phone calls reporting numerous violent incidents in her district during her 15 months in office.
Valenzuela wept at a news conference when she told reporters the last phone call woke her at 2.30am on Sunday with details of the latest tragedy.
“I am heartbroken and outraged,” she said. “Our community deserves better than this.”
The city’s downtown development effort was working until the pandemic hit and forced many businesses to close, according to Grant Gorman, a bartender who lives near where the shooting happened.
“Just when we were reaching some semblance of being a bustling downtown that was safe and had a bunch of open businesses to go to, the pandemic hit it and just crushed it,” Gorman said. .
Steinberg, the mayor, has said in recent years that “it’s been a very difficult time in downtown Sacramento and all of Sacramento.”
He added that the shooting “gives our whole community pause”, but urged people to continue visiting the area despite the recent violence.
California Governor Gavin Newsom said in a statement that his administration was working closely with law enforcement officials.
“What we do know at this point is that another shooting resulted in numerous casualties, leaving families with lost loved ones, multiple people injured and a grieving community,” he said.
Kay Harris, 32, told AP she was asleep when a family member called to say he believed her brother Sergio Harris had been killed. She said she thought he had been to the London nightclub, which is close to the shooting.
Harris said she had been to the club a few times and described it as a place for “the younger crowd”. She spent the morning walking around the block waiting for news.
“It really is a violent and senseless act,” she said.
Pamela Harris, the mother of Sergio Harris, told The Sacramento Bee the family has yet to hear from him.
“We just want to know what happened to him,” Pamela Harris told the newspaper. “Not knowing anything is just hard to face.”
Berry Accius, a community activist, said he came to the scene shortly after the shooting.
“The first thing I saw was like casualties. I saw a young girl with a whole lot of blood in her body, a girl taking glass away from her, a young girl screaming saying, ‘They killed my sister. A mother came running up: ‘Where is my son, was my son shot?’ “, he said.
Associated Press writers David Klepper in Providence, Rhode Island, and Stefanie Dazio in Los Angeles contributed to this report.
Adam Beam, The Associated Press