At least 6 dead and 12 injured in Sacramento shooting, police say
SACRAMENTO — After more than two years of empty streets and declining commerce, California’s capital seemed to return to its pre-pandemic state this weekend. Thousands turned out for a concert at downtown’s Golden 1 Center featuring Tyler, the Creator, and crowds filled nearby bars, pouring into the spring night.
In an explosion of violence echoing across the country, however, that vibrant mood was shattered early on Sunday with a barrage of gunfire as revelers left nightclubs. At least six people were killed and at least 12 were injured in the largest mass shooting in Sacramento history, authorities said.
The mass shooting, which appeared to span a two-block area of downtown Sacramento not far from the Capitol building, occurred shortly after 2 a.m. as clubs closed. Police said they were investigating an altercation that had taken place earlier.
However, Police Chief Kathy Lester – a veteran of the force who was sworn in just two weeks ago, vowing to make gun violence a priority – said it was unclear what had happened. led to violence and whether it was linked to a video circulating on social media of a sidewalk brawl. She said multiple shooters were involved and police recovered at least one firearm, a stolen handgun.
At a press conference on Sunday, she said when officers on patrol nearby responded to the scene, they found a large crowd and at least half a dozen people shot “in a truly tragic situation”. Other gunshot victims had gone to or been taken to hospital.
Chief Lester asked the public to contact the department for any information about the shooting. She said it was unclear how many people opened fire and no one was in custody.
Video provided to KCRA-TV, a local television station, showed a crowd of people running for cover, as bullets fired by what looked like a semi-automatic weapon began to burst around them . Witnesses said the street was chaotic.
Two cyclists who were riding downtown at the time of the shooting said they had just passed the clubs when they heard the gunshots.
There was a huge crowd on K Street, said one, who would like identify himself only as Tom S. He said he and his fellow cyclist immediately turned around and returned. Video they shot at the scene showed a swarm of police and emergency vehicles, their headlights flashing. Although the police chief said the three men and three women who were killed were all adults and were pronounced dead at the scene, the cyclists added that they saw young people being transported in an ambulance .
A homeless woman who was camping near City Hall said she too heard the gunshots. “I was in a little puppy tent,” said the wheelchair-bound woman, who said her name was Mary, “and I didn’t come out.”
Authorities have not released further details about the victims or their conditions. Behind yellow police tape on Sunday, the sidewalks outside clubs were covered in broken glass and littered with dozens of casings as officers sifted through what Chief Lester described as a complex crime scene.
“I have a son over there under a blanket,” said Sacramento resident Fred Harris, 63. He said he was woken in the middle of the night by a phone call from his daughter, who, sobbing, said her son, Sergio Harris, 38, was among those killed.
“I said, ‘Whoa, whoa, no,'” Mr Harris said. “She said, ‘Put on your clothes, I’ll meet you there. “”He said his son was at a club called El Santo Ultralounge when the shooting started.
Leticia Harris, 35, the wife of Sergio Harris, said he was a landscaper with three children aged 5 to 11. He had no connection to the shooting, she said, other than being caught in the crossfire.
“He was a happy guy, a family guy, he loved his kids,” she said. “He was just having fun in a pub.”
Berry Accius, a local community activist and founder of Voice of Youth, which supports youth mentoring and gun violence intervention programs, said he received a text from an official moments after the shooting , alerting him that several people had been killed.
Mr Accius said he arrived at the scene around 2:30 a.m. and saw a woman covered in blood on her clothes, shouting, “My sister is dead”, as authorities rushed to treat other seriously injured people.
Mr Accius also said he heard a woman crying, as she walked past the yellow crime scene tape, asking where her son was. Another woman, he said, approached him and “talked about his sister’s last breath in his arms.”
The incident was the second mass shooting in just over a month in Sacramento. At the end of February, a father killed his three young daughters, a chaperone and himself in a church during a supervised visit. Sunday’s death toll is the highest in the state in a single incident since last year, when 10 people were fatally shot in San Jose.
Although police did not specify what type of weapon was recovered, Sacramento County District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert said Sunday that “the number of illegal weapons in communities across the country is staggering.” .
In a statement, Governor Gavin Newsom denounced “another massive shooting” which left “families with loved ones lost, several people injured and a community in mourning”. A pending bill at the governor’s request — inspired by Texas abortion law — would encourage the public to help enforce a state ban on unregistered ghost guns and assault-type weapons by suing private lawsuits against firearms manufacturers.
Speaking at the scene on Sunday, Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg also called for more funding for youth mental health and more action against gun violence. At least nine mass shootings – defined by at least four people shot dead – occurred in a single weekend last month across the country, along with many others with fewer casualties.
“It is a disease in our culture and we must do everything possible to cure this disease,” the mayor said.
He also urged the city not to abandon its downtown, which has drastically emptied over the past two years as thousands of state workers were sent home to work remotely. This year, Mr. Steinberg has publicly advocated for the return of those and other office workers, and on Sunday he noted that the city had spent more than $8 million on lighting and other safety measures. security in the city center, much of which remains blocked and dotted with encampments. of homeless people.
“We want to urge people to be safe, of course,” the mayor said. “But we don’t want to close. That would be the wrong answer.
Isabelle Kwai and Giulia Heyward contributed reporting.