6 dead, at least 12 injured in Sacramento shooting, police say

Washington Post photo by Melina Mara
Police in Sacramento say six people are dead and at least 12 others have been hospitalized after a shooting in downtown.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Six people were killed and at least 12 were hospitalized after multiple shooters fired in downtown Sacramento early Sunday, police said, in what authorities called another senseless mass shooting.

The violence broke out shortly after 2 a.m. local time, leaving bodies on the ground and sending people running for cover in this popular nightlife destination lined with bars and clubs a block from the state Capitol.

Sacramento police said they are still trying to establish what prompted the shooting, how it unfolded, and who is responsible. They have yet to make an arrest and are asking for help from the public in identifying potential suspects or motives, Sacramento Police Chief Kathy Lester said.

Lester confirmed that multiple shooters were involved, with officials having recovered what they said was a stolen handgun. A large fight preceded the shooting, Lester said.

Four patients were receiving treatment at the U.C. Davis Medical Center, the only Level 1 trauma unit in the region. Stephanie Winn, a hospital spokeswoman, declined to give their conditions but said none had died. She said she heard that other shooting victims had been taken elsewhere.

Lester said 18 people were hit by gunfire that left three women and three men dead. She said the other 12 were being treated at area hospitals. Identities of the victims were not provided.

Lester said police in the area heard the gunshots and arrived at the corner of 10th and K streets to find a “very large crowd” and several shooting victims. Video posted on Twitter showed people running through the street as the sound of rapid gunfire could be heard in the background. She also noted that a camera caught moments of shooting.

Washington Post photo by Melina Mara
Victims’ families greet each other near the crime scene at 10th and K streets in downtown Sacramento.

The site is three blocks from the Golden 1 Center, where the Sacramento Kings play basketball, and which had hosted a concert by rap star Tyler, the Creator, on Saturday night. Lester said it was unclear whether the shooting was “associated with any particular club or event.”

There were still bodies on the street as of 10:30 a.m. local time, according to a law enforcement official who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the matter publicly.

Police mustered a large presence at the scene throughout Sunday, closing a swath of downtown two blocks wide and four blocks long. Sgt. Zach Eaton, a police spokesman, told The Washington Post the zone is likely to remain shut down until Monday as the investigation goes on. The crime scene, Lester said, is “very complex and complicated.”

Police are investigating a video posted to social media showing a brawl unfolding on a sidewalk as the shooting erupts. “We can’t confirm if that fight is what caused the shooting, or if there were two things going on at once,” Eaton said. He said police encouraged anyone with relevant video to submit it to the department through a link or the QR code it provided.

Bailey Willis, of Lincoln, Calif., said she and her husband witnessed the aftermath from the third floor of the Citizen Hotel, where they were staying. “We didn’t know what was going on,” Willis said, her voice quavering. “We just saw these people terrified and they were screaming and holding each other and the cops were just barricading.”

Terra Henry, of Carmichael, Calif., who also was staying at the hotel, said she saw a man running and crying, “My baby’s gone, my baby’s gone.”

Officials have opened City Hall, which will serve as an information center for victims’ families, with city staff and police on hand, Sacramento police announced.

“Thoughts and prayers are not nearly enough,” Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg, D, said at a news conference. “We must do more as a city, state and as a nation. This senseless epidemic of gun violence must be addressed. How many unending tragedies does it take before we begin to cure the sickness in this country?”

Earlier, Steinberg wrote on Twitter, “The numbers of dead and wounded are difficult to comprehend.”

California Gov. Gavin Newsom said in a statement that his administration is monitoring the situation and working with state and local law enforcement.

“What we do know at this point is that another mass casualty shooting has occurred, leaving families with lost loved ones, multiple individuals injured and a community in grief,” Newsom, D, 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.”

The violence in Sacramento unfolded just hours after a mass shooting in Dallas. At least 11 people were shot, with one reported dead, at an outdoor concert, according to Dallas police. Three of the victims were juveniles.

“A preliminary investigation determined that at the event, one individual fired a gun into the air, then another unknown individual fired a gun in the crowd’s direction,” Dallas police said in a statement.