Six people were killed and 12 injured in a mass shooting early Sunday as bars and nightclubs closed in downtown Sacramento and police in the state capital searched for at least one suspect.
Sacramento Police Chief Kathy Lester told a news conference that police were patrolling the area two blocks from the Capitol around 2 a.m. when they heard gunshots and s rushed to the scene. They found a large crowd gathered and six people dead in the street. 12 others abducted themselves or were taken to hospital. No information was provided on their terms. At least one firearm was recovered from the scene, police said.
Authorities urged witnesses or anyone with recordings of the shooting to contact police.
“We are asking for the public’s assistance to help us identify the suspects,” Lester said.
When asked if authorities were looking for one or more suspects, Lester told reporters she didn’t know. Shortly after the shooting, a video was posted on Twitter showing people running down the street to the sound of rapid gunfire.
By Sunday morning, police had cordoned off large parts of downtown with a criminal gang. At the corner of 10th and L streets, near where the shooting occurred, a single candle and a bouquet of flowers lay on the ground.
Asa Pickett, 25, of Sacramento, said he was at a downtown bar around 2 a.m. when he had a strange feeling. He and his friends were crossing 10th Street when they began to hear gunshots.
“It was at least 100 shots,” Pickett said, adding that the shots appeared to be from an automatic weapon. “It was a lot of shooting.”
Pickett said he slipped into an alley with 20 other people, many of whom were crowding into a stairwell.
“I kept telling them, don’t panic,” he said.
After about 45 minutes, Pickett said he and others left the alley and saw a body lying on the ground.
On Sunday morning, Pickett drove back to the area to attempt to retrieve his car, which got stuck behind crime scene tape.
“It’s not safe anywhere,” he said. “I pray for the families that they can heal.”
The events in Sacramento mark the worst mass shooting in Northern California since May 2021, when a Valley Transportation Authority employee shot and killed 10 people in San Jose before killing himself.
Dublin resident Steve Hicks was awakened by the sound of gunfire from his hotel at the Citizen Hotel in downtown Sacramento.
“Damn, this town is going a little crazy,” Hicks told the Sacramento Bee.
Kelsey Schar, 18, was staying on the fourth floor of the Citizen Hotel when she said she heard gunshots and saw lightning in the darkness. She walked to the window and “saw a guy running and just shooting,” Schar told The Associated Press in an interview.
Her friend, Madalyn Woodard, 17, said she saw a crowd in the street disperse amid gunfire. She 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.
Sunday’s violence was the third time in the United States this year that at least six people have been killed in a mass shooting, according to a database compiled by The Associated Press, USA Today and Northeastern University. And it was the second mass shooting in Sacramento in the past five weeks.
On February 28, a father killed his three daughters, a chaperone and himself in a church during a weekly supervised visitation. David Mora, 39, was armed with a homemade semi-automatic rifle-type weapon, despite being under a restraining order that prohibited him from owning a firearm.
At a Sunday morning news conference, Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg called the latest shooting a “senseless tragedy” and “unacceptable.”
“How many endless tragedies does it take before we begin to cure disease in this country?” Steinberg asked. “Let’s be honest. It’s a disease. The fact that we accept the idea that people can have easy access to assault weapons, weapons of destruction and can use them indiscriminately wherever and however they wish… that is no exception. It happens way too often. »
Sacramento District 4 council member Katie Valenzuela, who represents the downtown area where the shooting took place, made the tearful comments as the mayor stood beside her.
“At 2:30 a.m. this morning I received a call that no elected official wants to receive,” Valenzuela said. “A call that I have received too many times during the 15 months that I have been in office. So I’m heartbroken. And I’m outraged. I am outraged. Our community deserves better than this.
Sacramento police have set up an information center at City Hall for families affected by the shooting.
Governor Gavin Newsom said in a statement that his administration is working closely with law enforcement.
“What we do know at this point is that another shooting resulted in numerous casualties, leaving families with lost loved ones, multiple people injured and a grieving community,” he said.
Assemblyman Marc Berman, who represents parts of the Peninsula and Silicon Valley, called the shooting “tragic” and “senseless” in a tweet.
“We must do more to remove these killing machines from our streets,” he wrote.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in a statement called the shooting “devastating.”
“California and all Americans join the Sacramento community in the horror and anguish of this morning’s mass shooting,” she said. “Our hearts are with the victims of this brutal violence and with their families, and we are grateful for the heroism of our first responders.”
The area where Sunday’s shooting occurred is full of restaurants and bars. Nightclubs close at 2am and it is normal for the streets to be full of people at this time. MiX Downtown, a nightclub near the scene of the shooting, will remain closed until Monday, according to a Facebook post.
Kay Harris, 32, told AP she was asleep when a family member called to say he believed her brother Sergio Harris had been killed. She said she thought he had been to the London nightclub, which is close to the shooting.
Harris said she had been to the club a few times and described it as a place for “the younger crowd”. She spent the morning walking around the block waiting for news.
“It really is a violent and senseless act,” she said.
Pamela Harris, Sergio Harris’ mother, told The Sacramento Bee the family has yet to hear from him.
“We just want to know what happened to him,” Pamela Harris told the newspaper. “Not knowing anything is just hard to face.”
Berry 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 on 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.
UC Davis Medical Center received four patients from the downtown shooting, spokeswoman Stephanie Winn said. She declined to provide their genders or conditions, referring the media to the police.
Ten ambulances and 50 Sacramento Fire Department first responders responded to the shooting, according to Capt. Keith Wade.
Associated Press material is included in this article.