Sacramento, Calif., police arrest suspect related to mass shooting that killed 6
Suspect, 26, arrested on assault and firearms charges
Sacramento police announced an arrest Monday connected with a shooting that killed six people and wounded a dozen others in the heart of California's capital city on Sunday.
Police said they booked Dandrae Martin, 26, as a "related suspect" on assault and illegal firearms charges. Detectives and SWAT team members found one handgun during searches of three homes in the area.
The arrest came as the six victims killed were identified. The shooting occurred Sunday around 2 a.m. local time as bars were closing and patrons filled the streets near the state capitol.
The Sacramento County coroner identified the three women killed as Johntaya Alexander, 21; 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 burst of rapid-fire gunshots from at least two shooters sent people running in terror. Twelve were wounded in the neighbourhood just a few blocks from Golden One Arena, where the NBA's Sacramento Kings held a moment of silence before their game Sunday night.
Detectives were trying to determine if a stolen handgun found at the crime scene was connected 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 violence that just happened in our city is unprecedented during my 27 years here," Lester told reporters during a news conference at police headquarters.
"We are shocked and heartbroken by this tragedy."
More arrests expected
Martin was not arrested for any homicide-related charge, District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert said.
"The investigation is highly complex involving many witnesses, videos of numerous types and significant physical evidence," Schubert said in a statement. "This is an ongoing investigation and we anticipate more arrests in this case."
Martin was held without bail and was scheduled to appear in Sacramento Superior Court on Tuesday, according to jail records. He was freed from an Arizona prison in 2020 after serving just over one and a half years for violating probation in separate cases involving a felony conviction for aggravated assault in 2016 and a conviction on a marijuana charge in 2018. He was also wanted on a misdemeanor warrant by the Riverside County Sheriff's Department in Southern California.
It was not immediately clear whether Martin had an attorney who could speak on his behalf.
Of the 12 wounded, at least four suffered critical injuries, the Sacramento Fire Department said. At least seven of the victims had been released from hospitals by Monday.
At the scene where the chaos erupted, small memorials with candles, balloons and flowers sprouted from the sidewalk. One balloon had a message on it saying in part: "You will forever be in our hearts and thoughts. Nothing will ever be the same."
Streets were reopened to car and foot traffic and police tape had been removed. Aside from a handful of TV cameras, there was little indication on the downtown block of the previous day's bloodshed.
Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg and other city officials decried escalating violence in the city while also urging people to keep coming downtown for events like NBA games and performances of the Broadway musical Wicked.
The gunfire erupted 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 connected to the shooting. Video from witnesses posted on social media showed rapid gunfire for at least 45 seconds as people screamed and ran for cover.
The gunfire startled sleeping guests at the Citizen Hotel, which included a wedding party and fans of the rapper Tyler the Creator, who performed at a concert hours earlier.
From her window on the fourth floor of the hotel, 18-year-old Kelsey Schar said she saw a man running while firing a gun. She could see flashes from 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 napkins to try to stanch the bleeding.
Sunday's violence was the third time in the U.S. 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 last five weeks.
State lawmakers eye new gun laws
Politicians decried the violence, and some Democrats, including President Joe Biden, called for tougher action against gun violence.
California has some of the nation's toughest restrictions on firearms, requiring background checks to buy guns and ammunition, limiting magazines to 10 bullets, and banning firearms that fall into its definition of assault weapons.
But state lawmakers plan to go further. A bill getting its first hearing Tuesday would allow citizens to sue those who possess illegal weapons, a measure patterned after a controversial Texas bill aimed at abortions.
Other proposed California legislation this year would make it easier for people to sue gun companies and target unregistered "ghost guns."