SACRAMENTO (CBS SF/AP) — The usual crowds filled the streets as bars and nightclubs closed in Sacramento when the sound of rapid gunfire sent people running in terror. Within seconds, the last American shooting had left six dead and 12 injured.
Sacramento police said they were looking for at least two people who opened fire around 2 a.m. Sunday on the outskirts of the city’s downtown entertainment district, anchored by the Golden One Arena which hosts concerts and the NBA’s Sacramento Kings. The team’s home game against the Golden State Warriors went as planned Sunday night and began with a minute’s silence for the victims.
Police Chief Kathy Lester revealed some details of the investigation and pleaded with the public to share videos and other evidence that could lead to the killers.
“The scale of the violence that has just happened in our city is unprecedented in my 27 years here,” Lester told reporters at a news conference at police headquarters. “We are shocked and heartbroken by this tragedy. But we are also determined as an agency to find those responsible and bring justice to victims and families.
Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg and other city officials have decried the escalating violence in the city while urging people to keep coming downtown for events like NBA games and performances of the Broadway musical “Wicked”.
“We can never accept it as normal and we never will,” Steinberg said of the shooting. “But we also have to live our lives.”
The gunshots broke out just after a fight broke out on a street lined with an upmarket hotel, nightclubs and bars, but police said they were unsure whether the altercation was related to the shooting. Witness video posted on social media showed rapid gunfire lasting at least 45 seconds as people screamed and ran for cover.
The gunshots surprised sleeping guests at the Citizen Hotel, which included a wedding party and fans of rapper Tyler the Creator, who had performed at a concert hours earlier.
From his window on the fourth floor of the hotel, Kelsey Schar, 18, said he saw a man running while shooting a gun. She could see flashes of the weapon in the darkness as people ran for cover.
Schar’s friend, Madalyn Woodward, said she saw 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.
Police found a stolen handgun but were unsure if it was used in the shooting. The dead included three men and three women. Authorities were still working to notify family members and had publicly identified only one victim as of Sunday evening, 38-year-old Sergio Harris, without providing a cause of death. Of the 12 injured, at least four had serious injuries, according to the Sacramento Fire Department.
“I am confident that Chief Lester and the hard-working men and women of the police department will find out who is responsible for this horrific and unacceptable murder,” Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg said at a conference. press in the afternoon. “And they’re going to arrest them and that we’ll bring them to justice, because that needs to be a big part of our community’s response.”
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.
#BreakingUpdate 8 square blocks in downtown Sacramento were taped off after a shooting, killing 6 and injuring 10. Police responded to the shots just after 2 a.m. The perimeter will remain lit for several hours as investigators scour the street for evidence. pic.twitter.com/U0jNM5T16L
— stevelarge (@largesteven) April 3, 2022
Lester said patrol officers heard the gunshots around 2 a.m. and quickly responded to the scene within moments. When they arrived, they found a large crowd gathered in the street and six people dead.
“We are asking for the public’s assistance to help us identify the suspects and any information you can to resolve this issue,” she said.
Lester called it “a very intricate and convoluted scene”.
During the preliminary stages of the investigation into the shooting, police recovered at least one firearm from the scene.
9th Street to 13th Street remained closed between L Street and J Street downtown as the investigation into the fatal shooting continued.
NOTICE: 9th to 13th Streets are closed between L Street and J Street as officers investigate a shooting with multiple victims. Conditions unknown at this time. Please avoid the area as a heavy police presence will remain and the scene remains active. Please follow this thread for updates. pic.twitter.com/lGhUJCnLWe
— Sacramento Police (@SacPolice) April 3, 2022
Video posted to Twitter showed people running down the street as the sound of rapid gunfire could be heard in the background. The video also showed that several ambulances had been dispatched to the scene.
Five of the injured were transported to UC Davis Medical Center for treatment.
In a series of tweets on Sunday morning, Mayor Steinberg reacted to the shooting.
Words cannot express my shock and sadness this morning. The number of dead and injured is difficult to estimate. We await more information on what exactly happened in this tragic incident. (Continued)
— @mayor_Steinberg (@Mayor_Steinberg) April 3, 2022
“Words cannot express my shock and sadness this morning. The number of dead and injured is difficult to grasp. We await more information on what exactly happened in this tragic incident. Gun violence is the scourge of our city, state, and nation, and I support all actions to reduce it Our new police chief, Kathy Lester, has made it a top priority, and I strongly support her wrote Steinberg.
During a news conference about the mass shooting Sunday morning with other Sacramento city leaders, Steinberg spoke out against gun violence, calling it “a disease in our country and a disease in our culture.” .
Barry 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.
“You know, turmoil, trauma. It’s just a lot of things that, you know, you don’t want to see.
Kay Harris, 32, said she was asleep when a family member called to say they thought her brother had been killed. She said she thought he was in London, a nightclub at 1009 10th Street.
Harris said she had been to the club a few times and described it as a place for “the younger crowd”.
Police closed off the streets around the club, with yellow police tape billowing in the early morning breeze. Harris spent the morning walking around the block waiting for news.
“It really is a senseless act of violence,” she said.
President Joe Biden called for action on gun crimes in a statement on Sunday.
“Today, America once again mourns another community devastated by gun violence,” Biden said. “But we need to do more than cry; we have to act.”
Governor Gavin Newsom released a statement regarding the shooting in the state capitol:
“Sadly, we once again mourn the lives lost and those injured in another horrific act of gun violence. Jennifer and I send our deepest condolences to family, friends and the entire community affected. by this terrible tragedy.
“As it is at the start of this investigation, my administration will continue to work closely with local and state law enforcement as we monitor the situation.
“What we know at this point is that another shooting has claimed many lives, leaving families with loved ones lost, several people injured and a community in mourning. The scourge of gun violence continues to plague be a crisis in our country, and we must resolve to end this carnage.
Sacramento Police encourage any witnesses with information regarding the mass shooting investigation to contact the SPD Dispatch Center at (916) 808-5471 or Sacramento Valley Crime Stoppers at (916) 443-HELP (4357) . Callers can remain anonymous and may be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000. Anonymous tips can also be submitted using the free “P3 Tips” smartphone app.
This is the second mass shooting in Sacramento in just over a month. In late February, three young girls and their chaperone were shot dead by their father during a supervised visit to a Sacramento church before turning the gun on himself.
The shooting is the 12th mass shooting in California this year, according to Gun Violence Archive.
In total, in 2021, there were 49 mass shootings in California, including 15 in the San Francisco Bay Area, with Oakland recording the most violence of any city, with 46 people shot, including five fatally.
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