By Nicholas Ibarra | OBSERVER Staff Writer
In the hours following one of the most violent shooting incidents in modern Sacramento history, area residents, law enforcement officers and political and community leaders are mourning and searching for answers.
Sacramento police say 18 people were struck by gunfire. Six people are confirmed dead — three men and three women — and 12 wounded after what police believe to be multiple shooters opened fire around 2 a.m. Sunday near the corner of 10th and K streets in downtown.
Police say patrol officers in the area responded immediately to hearing dozens of gunshots at 2 a.m. They encountered scores of people running for their lives and multiple gunshot victims. Officers began to give medical aid, including CPR, while working to stabilize the scene and learn what they could about the crime.
The motive for the shooting remains unclear. Multiple videos have emerged depicting a fight at the scene followed immediately by a barrage of gunshots. The crime scene is expansive as scores of evidence markers littered the streets. A perimeter was set from J to L streets north to south and 8th to 11th streets west to east and is expected to remain closed until further investigation is completed.
“The scale of violence that just happened in our city is unprecedented during my 27 years here at the Sacramento Police Department,” said Chief Kathy Lester in an afternoon press conference. “We are shocked and heartbroken by this tragedy. But we are also resolved as an agency to find those responsible and to secure justice for the victims and their families.”
Chief Lester was surrounded by community members such as Mayor Darrell Steinberg, Councilmember Rick Jennings, Sacramento NAACP President Betty Williams, community activist Berry Accius, and many others.
Chief Lester said investigators were interviewing numerous witnesses and have located hundreds of pieces of evidence at the scene. A police camera at 10th and K streets also captured some of the shooting.
According to Sac PD public information officer Sgt. Zach Eaton, a handgun was found on the scene, but it is unclear whether it was used in the altercation.
“At this point, detectives believe there were at least two shooters involved,” Sgt. Eaton said. “More details will be given as we find them.”
“I have every confidence that Chief Lester and the hardworking men and women in the police department are going to find who was responsible for this horrific and unacceptable murder, arrest them and bring them to justice,” said Mayor Steinberg.
However, he also added that part of the city’s response must include more financial investment and support to local community based organizations and programs to provide safe alternatives for young people throughout the region. He noted that the city council has invested in gang intervention programs, community pop ups and other services, but more needs to be done.
“The summer is coming, and we now have an opportunity to do everything we can to build on what we are already doing to help save lives,” he said.
Accius agreed, saying that the investment in youth programs should increase.
“I believe this is a day of reflection. I want to encourage folks to know that it is safe in Sacramento, but the safety is going to be provided by the outcomes of today,” said Accius. “And I feel like the outcomes of today will be that we should see more support. And we’re hoping that the support won’t come later, but come now.”
Some area residents could be seen at the scene as late as 2 p.m. Sunday still searching for answers about the victims of the shooting. Among them was Fred Harris, who believed his son, Sergio Harris, 38, was one of the victims.
“I got a call in the middle of the night,” Harris said. He said he had arrived on scene at 3 a.m. and had been there since. He had not been able to receive very much information about what had happened. Like everyone else, he was instructed to stay behind the police perimeter. As of this report, Sac PD had not released any of the names of the victims.
“This is a very difficult situation. It’s a waiting game,” Harris said. “All I can do is wait and stay patient.”
No suspects have been identified and no arrests have been made. Police are calling upon any and all eyewitnesses to come forward and give statements. If anyone has information regarding the incident, please contact Sac PD immediately. City Hall has been opened up as a designated meeting and information point.
This story will be updated as more information becomes available.
On Monday around 9 a.m., the Sacramento County Coroner released the identities of those killed in the shooting. They are the following:
- Johntaya Alexander, she was 21.
- Melinda Davis, she was 57.
- Sergio Harris, he was 38.
- Joshua Hoye-Lucchessi, he was 32.
- Yamile Martinez-Andrade, she was 21.
- Devazia Turner, he was 29.
Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of those who have passed on.
As of noon Monday, Sac PD reported the arrest of Dandrae Martin, 26, as a related suspect. Martin was arrested and booked for assault and illegal firearm possession charges. Search warrants have been served to three other residences in the area. During the execution of the search warrants, at least one handgun was recovered. The full press release can be found here.
Detectives located hundreds of pieces of evidence on the scene, including over 100 expended shell casings and a stolen handgun, which was inspected and found to have been converted into a weapon capable of automatic gunfire.
On Tuesday morning, upon further investigation, Sac PD identified a second suspect, Smiley Martin, 27, Dandrae Martin’s older brother. Smiley Martin was initially located at the scene with serious gunfire injuries and was transported to an area hospital for treatment. Once Smiley Martin’s medical treatment is complete, he will be incarcerated and booked at the Sac County Main Jail for possession of a firearm by a prohibited person and possession of a machine gun. The full press release can be found here.
The investigation is still ongoing.
As of press time, Sac PD announced on Wednesday that they have evidence that indicates that at least five shooters were involved, and that the exchange of gunfire occurred between at least two groups of men. As shooters and weapons continue to be identified, the number of involved shooters may grow beyond five.
As more is learned about the shooting, Sac PD says that it has become clear that gang violence is at the root of the tragedy. At this time, precise gang affiliation of the individuals involved cannot be elaborated upon, but “gangs and gang violence are inseparable from the events that drove these shootings,” the press release read. The full press release can be found here.