A drive-by shooting in Richmond that killed three people and wounded five others at a house party on Sunday was similar to one that occurred in Oakland several weeks earlier, investigators say.
The second-deadliest shooting in the Bay Area so far this year, after the mass shooting at the VTA yard in San Jose last month, was a Father's Day drive-by in Richmond, on the 2100 block of Dunn Avenue. The shots were fired at a crowd of Guatemalan immigrants attending a house party that was promoted on Facebook, and reportedly attracted far more attendees than the hosts expected.
As Richmond police tell Bay Area News Group, the attendees were primarily from an Indigenous group who don't speak Spanish, which has presented a translation problem for investigators.
Richmond police Sgt. Aaron Pomeroy says that officers arrived to a chaotic scene in which people were running from the house and fleeing in vehicles, with some of the wounded in those vehicles. Investigators continue to try to try to identify a suspect vehicle or vehicles from which shots were fired.
"We’re following leads," Pomeroy tells Bay Area News Group. "It’s just moving a lot slower than normal."
Adding to the mystery is the fact that another drive-by shooting in Oakland on June 6 also targeted a house party attended by Guatemalans. Pomeroy did not elaborate about any other similarities, but he said, "It’s very similar, and we’re trying to determine if it’s related." Five men were wounded in that shooting.
In Sunday's shooting, the three people killed reportedly ranged in age from 18 to 45, but only one has been identified so far: 18-year-old Andres Morales Garcia of Richmond.
And the shooting may not have been technically a drive-by — Richmond police Lt. Matt Stonebraker earlier told KTVU that the suspected shooters "walked upon the scene, then got into a nearby car."
"There's no indication the suspects were at the party," Stonebraker said.
The event was reportedly a marimba party, featuring music made with the xylophone-like percussion instrument that is the national instrument of Guatemala. Bay Area News Group reports that it was also "a celebration related to the Guatemalan town of San Juan Atitán."
People from San Juan Atitán speak Mam, a Mayan language that is spoken by around a half million Guatemalans.
Referring to the fact that the party was advertised on Facebook, Richmond Mayor Tom Butt somewhat ungenerously told KTVU, "You might as well take out an ad and put it on TV, and what it means is there's no control over who shows up."
Police say they are seeking two suspects, but have not offered any description of them or their vehicle.
The three shooting deaths brought Richmond's homicide count for the year to 12.
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