A mass shooting in downtown Sacramento on Sunday morning that claimed at least six lives and injured a dozen other people appears to have been the result of a shootout between multiple gunmen, possibly stemming from a large fight that broke out as nightclubs were emptying out.
"The scale of violence that just happened in our city is unprecedented during my 27 years here," said Police Chief Kathy Lester Lester at a news conference Sunday. "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 the families."
Lester was only sworn in as chief of the Sacramento Police Department about two weeks ago, and the department now has a reportedly complex crime scene to untangle, with dozens if not hundreds of witnesses.
As the Associated Press reports, some of those witnesses were in bed at the nearby Citizen Hotel when the shots rang out — and one witness, 18-year-old Kelsey Schar, described seeing a gunman running while firing his weapon. Many of those staying at the hotel had come to town to see Tyler, the Creator perform at the Golden 1 Center Saturday night.
Also performing in the city, at the nearby Crest Theatre, were pop duo Aly & AJ — a.k.a. Alyson and AJ Michalka. As KRON4 reports, via a tweet they posted, their tour bus ended up being "caught in the crossfire" of the shooting, though they say none of their crew were injured. "All of our thoughts are with the families of those who lost their lives and those recovering today," Aly and AJ write. "We’re praying for the health care workers caring for them. We hope all our fans made it home safe."
Our bus was caught in the crossfire but we sheltered in place and everyone in our touring group is ok. Thank you for everyone reaching out. A reminder to keep your loved ones extra close today. We have to do something about gun violence in this country.— Aly & AJ (@alyandaj) April 3, 2022
Police say they recovered one firearm, which was stolen, from the scene, but no arrests have yet been made.
The dead include three men and three women, some of whom have now been publicly identified. Among the 12 others who were injured, there were four in critical condition as of Sunday, according to the Sacramento Fire Department.
The shooting occurred at 2 a.m. Sunday as crowds of people exited bars and clubs in the area and gathered on sidewalks. As the AP reports, the crime scene spans two city blocks, and the bodies of the dead were left on the street through much of the day Sunday as police worked to process a "really complex and complicated scene," Lester said. She also said that investigators know there was a "large fight" happening just before the shooting began.
The shooting began around the area of 10th and K streets, but the crime scene spans from J to L streets, and from 9th to 13th streets. And this shooting unfortunately comes just as the typically lively K Street corridor was beginning to bounce back after lengthy pandemic closures.
There was reportedly about 45 seconds of sustained shooting, and as one witness, Jeff Wall, tells the Chronicle, he heard between 75 and 100 rounds fired.
Describing one of the gunmen, shooting in the general direction of a bar, Wall said, "He didn’t care who he hit, he was just spraying that crowd. Everybody just scattered. People were running and screaming, and you could see people were dropping to the ground.”
Videos from the area posted to Twitter show a chaotic scene as bystanders run for cover. Dozens of shots can be heard in the video below.
Mass shooting near the Capital building in Sacramento left 6 dead 15 injured. 4/2/22 pic.twitter.com/OxkyKaqyiZ— H̶y̶e̶i̶n̶ 🇺🇸🇰🇷 ✝️🍊 (@BabeeHyeinK2021) April 3, 2022
The video below shows a fight between multiple individuals happening, with security personnel trying to break it up, just before shots begin being fired nearby.
BREAKING:🚨 USA: Multiple people k!IIed and injured in mass shooting incident in downtown Sacramento, California; sound of automatic gunfire captured on amateur video pic.twitter.com/aHwco0UZG6— OSINT Updates 🚨 (@OsintUpdates) April 3, 2022
Ken Twitty, the general manager of Dive Bar, tells the Chronicle that he was outside the bar with his security personnel trying to break up a fight just before the shooting. He says he ordered his staff into the basement, and he describes many people dropping to the ground to duck. Twitty says that police "swarmed from every angle" almost immediately.
Among the victims, we now know, were two cousins who were out on the town together that night, 38-year-old Sergio Harris and 29-year-old DeVazia Turner. As KRON4 reports, both men were fathers to small children.
As KTVU reports, the other four victims have been identified as Yamile Martinez-Andrade, 21; Johntaya Alexander, 21; Melinda Davis, 57; and Joshua Hoye-Lucchesi, 32.
This was the third mass shooting so far this year in the U.S. that claimed six or more lives. Both Governor Gavin Newsom and President Joe Biden issued statements after the shooting.
"Sadly, we once again mourn the lives lost and for those injured in yet another horrendous act of gun violence," Newsom said. "The scourge of gun violence continues to be a crisis in our country, and we must resolve to bring an end to this carnage."
And Biden said, "Today, America once again mourns for another community devastated by gun violence. In a single act in Sacramento, six individuals left dead and at least a dozen more injured. Families forever changed. Survivors left to heal wounds both visible and invisible."
"We must do more than mourn; we must act," Biden said, and he urged Congress to pass legislation banning ghost guns and requiring background checks for all gun sales.
Top image: Police officers work the scene on the corner of 10th and L street of a shooting that occurred in the early morning hours on April 3, 2022 in Sacramento, California. Six people were killed and at least 10 were injured in the mass shooting in downtown Sacramento with no suspects in custody. (Photo by David Odisho/Getty Images)