The two brothers who are so far the only suspects in Sunday's mass shooting in downtown Sacramento were both multiply convicted felons who had been released from prison in the last two years. The older brother, Smiley Martin, was allegedly seen in a live Facebook video brandishing a weapon in the hours before the shooting, and the DA's office is already pointing to their vehement opposition to his recent release.
Police in Sacramento have quickly honed in on two suspects in the shooting that followed a Saturday night of partying at downtown bars. It remains possible that other suspected shooters will be arrested, and police have said they believe there was a shootout between multiple assailants.
One of the dozen people injured in the melee was 27-year-old Smiley Martin, who remains hospitalized but who will be booked on charges of possession of a firearm by a prohibited person and possession of a machine gun as soon as his condition improves. His brother, 26-year-old Dandrae Martin, was booked early Monday as a "related suspect" on charges of assault with a firearm and possession of a firearm by a prohibited person. Neither man has yet been charged with the deaths of any of the six people killed.
Sacramento County District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert said in a statement, "The investigation is highly complex involving many witnesses, videos of numerous types and significant physical evidence. This is an ongoing investigation and we anticipate more arrests in this case."
After putting out a call to the public for videos of the events of Sunday morning, Schubert's office reportedly received over 100 videos from witnesses.
As the Associated Press reports, via an anonymous law enforcement tip, Smiley Martin has posted a live video of himself on Facebook on Saturday showing off one of his weapons. It's not clear if that was one of the weapons used in the shooting, or the weapon that investigators found at the scene on Sunday morning. The gun found at the scene was reportedly connected to Martin, and was a handgun that had been converted into an automatic weapon.
Investigators also reportedly recovered a firearm in a search of an area home.
Schubert, who is running as an independent for California Attorney General, is making noise about the fact that Smiley Martin was one of thousands of inmates recently granted early release under a rule change by the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR).
As the Sacramento Bee reports, someone from Schubert's office, in fact, had written a letter specifically opposing Martin's early release from a 10-year domestic violence sentence. Martin received the sentence in January 2018, and it appears he was released from prison in 2021.
"Inmate Martin’s criminal conduct is violent and lengthy,” Deputy District Attorney Danielle Abildgaard wrote in a two-page letter to the Parole Board dated April 29, 2021 in which she detailed Martin's multiple crimes and stints in jail since turning 18. "As shown by Inmate Martin’s pattern of conduct, he is an assaultive and non-compliant individual and has absolutely no regard for his victims who are left in the wake of numerous serious offenses. He has no respect for others, for law enforcement or for the law. If he is released early, he will continue to break the law."
It seems that both Martin brothers have histories of pimping and/or forcing women into prostitution. The charges that landed Smiley Martin in prison in 2018 with the 10-year sentence stemmed from an incident in which he "located [a girlfriend] hiding in her bedroom closet and hit her repeatedly with a closed fist on the face, head, and body, causing visible injuries." Martin then allegedly dragged the woman by her hair to a waiting car, and prosecutors had text-message evidence that he had coercing her into sex work and training her in how to accept payment.
Dandrae Martin, similarly, was released from jail in Arizona in 2020 after serving one and a half years on a probation violation. That violation stemmed from a 2016 guilty plea in an aggravated assault case. As KTVU reports, the younger Martin "pleaded guilty to punching, kicking and choking a woman in a hotel room when she refused to work for him as a prostitute."
We can expect plenty more outcry about both Martin brothers' criminal histories, and why they were no longer in jail, as this case continues to be covered in the media.
There's already finger-pointing happening on Facebook, if you search Smiley Martin's name, with both the governor and the DA's office getting blamed for his early release — even though the DA's office opposed that release, as shown in the letter obtained by the Bee.
Schubert is making it known that she opposed an "emergency" change by the CDCR last year in how good conduct credits get applied to sentences. She was one of more than 40 California DAs who opposed the good-conduct credit change last spring, and who jointly penned an open letter to the Secretary of the CDCR suggesting that the move would lead to the early release of 76,000 inmates, including "some of California’s most violent criminals."
The change came after a year of such emergency measures aimed at decreasing California's once bloated prisoner population, due in part to pandemic concerns.
With Martin being implicated in this shooting, Schubert is getting an "I told you so moment," and it comes during a time of heightened debate about criminal justice reform.
Top image: Police work the scene on the corner of 9th and K street after 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)