Sacramento police announced an arrest Monday in connection with a shooting that killed six people and injured a dozen others on Sunday in the heart of the Californian capital.
Police said they booked Dandrae Martin, 26, as a “related suspect” for assault and unlawful firearms. Detectives and SWAT team members found a handgun during searches of three homes in the area. Police did not elaborate on Martin’s alleged role in the shooting or whether they were still looking for other suspects.
The arrest came as the six slain victims were identified. The shooting happened around 2 a.m. local time on Sunday as bars closed and patrons filled the streets near the state capitol.
The Sacramento County coroner identified the three women killed as 21-year-old Johntaya Alexander; Melinda Davis, 57; and Yamile Martinez-Andrade, 21. The three men killed were Sergio Harris, 38; Joshua Hoye-Lucchesi, 32; and Devazia Turner, 29.
The flurry of rapid fire from at least two shooters had people running in terror. Twelve were injured in the neighborhood a few blocks from the Golden One Arena, where the NBA’s Sacramento Kings held a minute’s silence before their game on Sunday night.
Detectives were trying to determine if a stolen handgun found at the crime scene was linked to the shooting, Police Chief Kathy Lester said. She 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.”
Martin was held without bail and was scheduled to appear in Sacramento Superior Court on Tuesday, prison records show. His criminal record was not disclosed, but records showed he was also wanted on a misdemeanor warrant by the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department in Southern California.
It was not immediately clear if Martin had an attorney who could speak on his behalf.
Of the 12 injured, at least four suffered serious injuries, the Sacramento Fire Department said. At least seven of the victims had been released from hospitals on Monday.
At the places where chaos erupted, small memorials with candles, balloons and flowers sprouted on the sidewalk. A balloon carried a message saying in part: “You will forever be in our hearts and thoughts. Nothing will ever be the same again.
Streets have been reopened to vehicular and pedestrian traffic and police tape has been removed. Aside from a handful of television cameras, there was little indication on the downtown block of the previous day’s bloodshed.
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 Broadway musical performances. Bad.
“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 upscale hotel, nightclubs and bars and police said they were investigating 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 hotel’s fourth floor, 18-year-old Kelsey Schar 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.
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.
‘We need to do more than cry’: Biden
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 have to do more than cry, we have to act.”
On February 28, a father killed his three daughters, a chaperone, and himself at a Sacramento 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.
On Sunday, the crime scene spanned two city blocks, shutting down much of downtown. The bodies remained on the sidewalk throughout the day as Lester said investigators worked to deal with a “really complex and complicated scene” to ensure investigators gathered all the evidence possible to “see the perpetrators of this crime brought to justice”.
Com. Katie Valenzuela, who represents the region, said she had received too many phone calls reporting violence in her district during her 15 months in office. She cried at a press conference when she told reporters the last phone call woke her up at 2.30am on Sunday.
“I am heartbroken and outraged,” she said.
“Our community deserves better than this.”