9-year-old girl among 3 killed in spate of weekend shootings in Sacramento
A spate of shootings shook Sacramento over the weekend, leaving two children and one adult dead and several people injured, according to police reports.
The first shooting disrupted a Saturday afternoon family gathering at Mama Marks Park in Sacramento’s Del Paso Heights neighborhood. Several people were struck by gunfire around 1 p.m. during a drive-by shooting, police said.
Among those shot was 9-year-old Makaylah “Kay Kay” Brent, who died at the scene. Her 6-year-old cousin and aunt were taken to a nearby hospital, where the woman is in critical condition, according to authorities.
Another man took himself to the hospital with injuries related to the shooting, police said.
About 25 to 30 people had gathered at the park for a spread of ribs, chicken, corn-on-the-cob and other barbecued goodies, said Debra Cummings, Makaylah’s cousin. Community cookouts at Mama Marks are a tradition in the Del Paso Heights neighborhood. Friends and family had gathered in Saturday’s sweltering heat to celebrate another girl’s birthday when “all hell broke loose,” she said.
Makaylah and another girl were playing tag by the playground, said Cummings, who wasn’t there when the shooting happened but heard about it from other family members. Ashley Brent, the mother of the 6-year-old, dove to protect the girls.
“She thought she would take the bulk of the bullet,” Cummings said. “It’s sickening to even fathom what she had to go through.”
A motive for the shooting is still under investigation, said Officer Karl Chan, spokesman for the Sacramento Police Department.
“One of the avenues would be to see if this is gang-related, but we don’t have [anything] confirmed at this point,” Chan said.
Cummings cited “a gang war” as a reason for Saturday’s extensive violence, a pent-up culmination of a difficult year. The pandemic and its ensuing struggles — children stuck indoors, masking, unemployment fraud — are “intensifying” the situation, she said.
“It’s a recipe for disaster,” Cummings said.
Mama Marks Park is one of the few spots in the neighborhood that children can reach on foot, Cummings said. It’s named after a community matriarch known for handing out hot food to children, people experiencing homelessness and other adults.
“The kids felt safe going up to Mama Marks,” Cummings said. “As you can see, it’s not so safe anymore.”
Hours before her death, Makaylah had returned from a camping trip to a family favorite spot at Camanche Lake. All she talked about were her Bratz dolls, Cummings. She loved to dress up her braids with beads and paint her nails. She played with glittery slime.
“Makaylah was a child that was full of life. She was a young lady that was just blossoming into little girlyhood,” Cummings said. “It just kills me. I’m still crying. I can’t even fathom that I’ll never see this child again, from seeing her every single day of her life.”
On Monday, Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg condemned the attack in a news conference outside City Hall. In addition to offering his condolences, he pledged to invest more in programs targeting youth and disadvantaged neighborhoods.
“It is on us to redefine and, frankly, to expand our definition of what we consider to be a poor city responsibility,” Steinberg said. “Because we haven’t done enough.”
To that end, Councilman Allen Warren, whose district is home to three of the shootings, will make a list of demands to the city after the weekend’s events, Mayor Pro Tem Angelique Ashby said. The requests include investing in north Sacramento public libraries, giving ample resources to a city task force on gangs, renovating Mama Marks Park and installing cameras.
Warren did not attend the news conference because he was helping in his district, Ashby said. He posted his condolences Sunday on Facebook for “Little Kay Kay” and her family. He did not immediately respond to requests for comment Monday.
A homeless man in North Hollywood was among more than a dozen people shot or killed during a violent weekend in the city.
A little over two hours after the Mama Marks drive-by, police responded to reports of a vehicle crashed into a pole in southeast Sacramento, near Jackson Road. Officers found the driver, a 17-year-old boy, inside the car, dead from a gunshot wound.
And about 6:45 p.m., another drive-by shooting erupted in North Sacramento near Mabel Street, Chan said. A 17-year-old girl and two men were injured in that attack, but all were expected to survive, authorities said.
Finally, just as the deadly weekend was shuddering to an end, police responded to another call of a vehicle crash in the wee hours of Monday morning, where officers found a man dead in his car with “at least one life-threatening gunshot wound.” That shooting also took place in Del Paso Heights, near Dry Creek Road and Harris Avenue.
Police are investigating all four shootings, including whether any were related, Chan said.
“We don’t have any evidence yet indicating that anything is connected at this point,” he said.
The police chief reported 94 rounds fired over the weekend, Steinberg said Monday, and 10 arrests have been made related to firearms. The series of attacks could make October a record month for Sacramento. The Police Department’s most recent crime statistics, which are through August, show 27 homicides this year. That is a 42% increase from last year’s total of 19.
“It’s a spike, obviously,” Chan said.
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