From Adam Bima
SACRAMENTA, Calif. (AP) – Six people were killed and 10 injured in a mass shooting Sunday as bars and nightclubs closed in central Sacramento and police in the California capital searched for at least one suspect.
Sacramento Police Chief Katie Lester told a news conference that police were patrolling the area two blocks from the Capitol at about 2 a.m. when they heard gunfire and rushed to the scene. A large crowd gathered in the street and six people were killed. Another 10 were either taken away or taken to hospital. No information about their conditions was provided.
Authorities urged witnesses or those with recordings of the shooting to contact police.
“We are asking for public help to help us identify suspects in this,” Leicester said. Asked if authorities were looking for one or more suspects, Leicester told reporters she did not know.
Shortly after the shooting, a video was posted on Twitter showing people running down the street to the sound of rapid fire in a city of about 525,000 people located 75 miles (120 kilometers) from San Francisco.
18-year-old Kelsey Shar was living on the fourth floor of the Citizen Hotel when she said she heard gunshots and saw flashes in the dark. She went to the window and “saw a guy running and just shooting,” Shar said in an interview with the Associated Press.
Her friend Madeline Woodard said she saw a crowd on the street scattering among the gunfire. Woodard said the girl, who appeared to have been shot in the arm, was lying on the ground. Guards from a nearby nightclub rushed to help the girl with wipes to stop the bleeding.
According to a database compiled by The Associated Press, USA Today and Northeastern University, Sunday’s violence in the United States was the third time this year that at least six people were killed in a mass shooting. And this was the second mass shooting in Sacramento in the last five weeks.
On February 28, a father killed his three daughters, a companion and himself in church during a weekly supervised visit. David More, 39, was armed with a homemade semi-automatic rifle-style weapon, although he was under a travel ban that barred him from owning a firearm.
Council member Katie Valenzuela, representing the area where the shooting took place, said that during her 15 months in office, she called to report many incidents of violence in her district.
Valenzuela cried at a news conference when she told reporters that the last phone call woke her up at 2:30 a.m. Sunday with details of the latest tragedy.
“I have a broken heart and I’m outraged,” she said. “Our community deserves better than that.”
Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg denied the rise in gun violence at a news conference and said city officials would support the victims. He said that since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the city has worked hard to bring people back to the city center, and that despite the shootings, the city was safe.
“Our heart is broken this morning,” Steinberg said. “This is a senseless and unacceptable tragedy.”
Governor Gavin Newsom said in a statement that his administration works closely with law enforcement.
“At the moment we know that another mass shooting took place, as a result of which families with lost loved ones, several people were injured and the community in grief,” he said.
The area where the Sunday shooting took place is filled with restaurants and bars. Nightclubs close at 2 am and it is normal if there are a lot of people on the streets at this time.
Kay Harris, 32, told the AP she was asleep when a member of her family called to say they thought her brother Sergio Harris had been killed. She said she thought he was at a London nightclub close to the shooting.
Harris said she had been to the club several times and described it as a place for the “younger crowd”. In the morning she circled the neighborhood waiting for news.
“A very pointless, violent act,” she said.
Pamela Harris, mother of Sergio Harris, told The Sacramento Bee that the family has yet to hear from him.
“We just want to know what happened to him,” Pamela Harris told the newspaper. “Without knowing anything, it’s just hard to face.”
Public activist Berry Aktus said he came to the scene immediately after the shooting.
“The first thing I saw was as a victim. I saw a young girl with a whole bunch of blood in her body, a girl taking off her glass, a young girl screaming and saying, “They killed my sister.” The mother ran up: “Where is my son, my son was shot?” He said.
UC Davis Medical Center has taken four patients from a downtown shooting, spokeswoman Stephanie Vinn said. She declined to disclose their gender and conditions, citing media reports to police.
According to Captain Keith Wade, ten ambulances and fifty Sacramento Fire Department officers responded to the shooting.
This version corrects the fact that not five but four patients from the shooting were taken to UC Davis Medical Center.