Sacramento police seek multiple gunmen in mass shooting that killed 6, wounded 12
Sacramento police are searching for multiple suspects in a mass shooting in the city’s downtown early Sunday that killed six people and wounded 12 others.
Police Chief Katherine Lester said the shooting occurred around 2 a.m. after a large fight broke out in a popular entertainment district. She said officers heard gunfire and arrived at the scene at 10th and K streets, roughly two blocks northwest of the state Capitol, where they found multiple shooting victims.
Authorities offered few details as to what happened except to say that just after 2 a.m. an unidentified person in a car drove up 10th Street and unleashed a sustained barrage of bullets into a crowd of people before fleeing.
A second person also fired a gun, although it was not yet clear whether that person was also in the car or in the crowd. Authorities said cameras in the downtown area captured footage of a portion of the shooting.
How the mass shooting in Sacramento went down: What we know now
“This is a really complex and complicated scene,” Lester said. “And there is a process and what we want to do is make sure that this investigation is completed thoroughly and accurately. because we do want to see the perpetrators of this crime brought to justice.”
Police confirmed a stolen handgun was recovered from the scene. However, authorities suspect at least two different weapons were fired, according to a law enforcement source.
A motive for the violence was unclear. Law enforcement sources told The Times that the shooting involved gang members and associates.
Several videos of altercations that preceded the shooting have been circulating on social media. Authorities are asking anyone with videos of the scene to share it with them as they continue to try to piece together what happened.
Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg said, “This morning our city has a broken heart. This is a senseless and unacceptable tragedy.
“Thoughts and prayers aren’t nearly enough,” Steinberg added. “We must do more as a city, as a state and as a nation. This senseless epidemic of gun violence must be addressed. How many unending tragedies does it take before we begin to cure the sickness in this country? Let us be honest, this is a sickness.”
Berry Accius, a community activist, arrived on the scene around 2:30 a.m. after receiving a call from a City Council member whom he has worked with on gun prevention and gun violence.
When the shooting ended, six people were dead and 10 had been wounded in the heart of downtown Sacramento’s entertainment district.
The neighborhood where the shooting occurred has several nightclubs and bars where fights have broken out in the past. But that violence was not comparable to what Accius saw early Sunday, he said.
As soon as he got there, Accius said, he saw a young woman bleeding from her forehead. Her clothes were covered in blood.
“She was just screaming on the phone, ‘They killed my sister,’” he said.
There was a mother who believed her son might be a victim and was trying to figure it out. Accius said another young woman said her sister had died in her arms.
He said victims went to the hospital on their own “because they didn’t have enough medical teams to deal with what was going on.”
Relatives gathered near a bar where the gunfire is believed to have erupted, hugging each other, looking for information and coming to terms with losses.
“It’s tragic, just tragic. On all levels,” Accius said. “Just continually hearing the number count, the number going from three to four to five and then finally getting a number of six people dead. I just shook my head. Never in a million years would I think the precious downtown area would ever be in a moment where’s this much tragedy, this much lawlessness and a cowardly act of senseless violence.”
Videos circulating on social media showed a large group of people fighting on a street before shots rang out. Other images online showed a swarm of ambulances and bystanders huddled around the wounded on the sidewalk.
Alexandra Arellano was leaving work at the El Santo Ultra Lounge near the corner of K and 10th streets when the shooting started. The club closed at 2 a.m. and people began pouring out of the building onto the sidewalk.
A shooting that killed six and wounded 12 in downtown Sacramento renews calls among California officials and activists for new gun laws.
Arellano, 26, was about to step outside when she heard a gunshot followed by a rapid succession of “like 30 or 50 rounds being shot.”
“After that, everybody started panicking,” she said. Some ran back into the club.
Arellano’s fiancé, Jesse Fuentes, who works as a security guard outside the club, said there are three other venues in the area, including the popular London Club next door. Earlier that night they’d seen an entire crowd run off, but there were no gunshots at that point. Then around closing time, he and another security guard heard a commotion at a garage.
“Once we went over there, it was pretty much a gunfight going on,” the 32-year-old said. “We were just trying to take cover because we couldn’t tell where the shots were coming from at first because they were coming from two different areas.”
People were running and pushing as the shots rang out. He tried to get anyone who was near the club’s exit back inside. After the firing stopped, he went outside, crossed the street and saw at least three people lying on the ground.
Darell Gomes was sleeping on the street about two blocks from where the violence erupted early Sunday. He heard a spurt of automatic fire accompanied by single shots. He remembers thinking it sounded like more than one type of gun was being fired.
“I must have heard about 40 shots all together,” he said.
The shooting has renewed calls among officials and activists for more gun safety and violence prevention laws.
“Horrified and deeply saddened by the gun violence we witnessed this morning in Sacramento,” Sen. Alex Padilla (D-Calif.) said. “My prayers are with the victims and their families — and the entire Sacramento community.”
Gov. Gavin Newsom expressed his condolences in a statement to the family, friends and the Sacramento community members who were affected by the tragedy.
“Sadly, we once again mourn the lives lost and for those injured in yet another horrendous act of gun violence,” Newsom said in a statement. “The scourge of gun violence continues to be a crisis in our country, and we must resolve to bring an end to this carnage.”
The shooting took place in a part of Sacramento that has been filled with hopes for a downtown renaissance in recent years, but has delivered numerous disappointments.
Just a block from the state Capitol and two blocks from City Hall, the K Street mall between 10th and 12th streets — the area now sealed off by police — includes a mix of restaurants, nightclubs and bars.
Farther to the west are blocks of shuttered and underutilized storefronts, not far from the Golden 1 Center, where the Sacramento Kings play their games and a concert was held Saturday featuring Tyler, the Creator.
Sacramento City Councilwoman Katie Valenzuela, who represents the district where the shooting occurred, said the area is vibrant and often crowded on weekends.
“I’m heartbroken and I’m outraged. I’m outraged,” she said, tears streaming down her face. “Our community deserves better than this. I know this is a national epidemic this is not unique to Sacramento, but we can stop it here.”
On Sunday morning, police had blocked off a large crime scene, extending several blocks from where people were wounded.
Jedrick Andrés, 28, said he and his friend heard about the shooting as they were driving in Sunday morning to run a 5k in the city.
“I was kind of shocked,” he said. “It’s heartbreaking.”
Relatives gathered about a block from the bar where the shots first rang out, hugging each other and looking for information about their loved ones. Authorities have not publicly identified the dead.
“Why did they do this to my baby?“ cried Pamela Harris, whose son, 38-year-old Sergio Harris, was among the dead.
Sergio Harris’ father, Fred Harris, was stunned when his daughter called him at 2:30 a.m. to tell him that Sergio had been killed.
“She said, ‘Put your clothes on and come down here,’” he said. He spent hours circling the crime scene looking for answers.
As Harris spoke to a reporter, his daughter Kay pulled her father away, explaining that he had been up all night.
“I love him,” she said of her brother. “I hope people are brought to justice.”
Sergio’s brother Fred Harris Jr., 41, described him as a “pretty good guy, well-rounded and well liked.”
“Everybody pretty much knew him and loved him for being who he was,” he said. “Everybody who knew Serg just knew he was all about a good time.”
Sergio was a father of three — two girls and a boy — and loved his cars, shoes and drinking Moet, Fred Harris Jr. said.
He’d heard that several fights broke out and that a car came down the street “and started letting off a bunch of shots.”
“I’m not sure if it’s associated with the fights that were happening at the clubs, or it was one of those random occurrences of violence,” he said. “I feel like my brother wasn’t targeted. I feel like it was a random act of violence.”
The incident comes a month after another shocking act of violence in the city.
On Feb. 28, a man killed four people, including three of his children, before turning the gun on himself inside a church in the Sacramento suburbs.
The killings took place during a supervised visit between the father and his children inside the church.
Sunday’s shooting was one of the three deadliest mass murders in the country this year, along with two other shootings that also left six dead in Milwaukee and Corsicana, Texas, according to data compiled by Gun Violence Archive, a research group in Washington.
The worst mass shootings last year each left 10 dead, in San Jose and Boulder, Colo. Nationwide, 120 people have been killed in mass shootings so far this year, according to the group’s data.
On Sunday, one block from where the gunfire erupted, parishioners at the Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament kneeled during Mass and joined the pastor’s prayer for the dead and wounded.
“We pray for their families and friends, mourning the loss, concerned over healing and finding it difficult to understand,” the Rev. Michael O’Reilly said to parishioners. “We pray for our city.”
Times staff writer Stuart Leavenworth contributed to this report.
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