SACRAMENTO, California (AP) – A massacre outside the California Capitol just over a weekend that killed six people and injured 12 was a gunfight involving at least five gunmen from a rival gang, Sacramento police said Wednesday.
Police say they have identified at least five gunmen but may have more. Only two suspects – two brothers wounded in the gunfight – have been arrested in connection with the shooting, and so far, only firearms charges have been filed.
“We’re still working … who are the real shooters in the case,” said Sergeant. Dr. Jack Eaton.
Until Wednesday’s announcement, police were silent on the cause of the shooting early Sunday when the bars were out. Frightened patrons ran for their lives as more than 100 shots erupted, erupting in quick succession, and others were shot.
Police said at least two gangs were involved. They declined to give further details or name the gang or suspects involved.
Experts say that if the gang is blamed, it will mark an unusual bloody conflict.
In his 20 years of research on gangs in Los Angeles, Alex Alonso said he could not remember a gang-related shooting with so many body numbers.
“It’s extremely rare that a gang shooting happened the way it’s being identified,” Alonso said. “It’s very rare that this could happen with so many victims in a public place.”
Gregory Chris Brown, a professor of criminal justice at California State University, Fullerton, says gangs are often less likely to target rivals in drive-by shootings, although innocent pedestrians are also occasionally hit.
The location of the Sacramento shooting – in a busy area of the water hole near the recreation district – was incidental for what sparked some fighting.
“If rival gang members see each other, it doesn’t matter if they are in the United States capital,” Brown said. “If you see a rival gang member and you’re going to attack them, it doesn’t matter where they are.”
He said high-powered weapons had caused a large number of casualties in crowded areas.
Berry Achilles, founder of Voice of the Youth who leads gun intervention and prevention programs and offers his services to counsel families who have lost loved ones by shooting, criticized the police for identifying the crime as gang-related, which he said was something. Some will lead “Think black people.”
He said people would look at pictures of black women and men being shot, assume they were in a gang, and wonder why gang members were in the city center.
“This is a narrative that we do not need at this particular time,” said Achias. “The idea is that we are going to blame one person in the population and hold them responsible for the subsequent violence.”
Bill Sanders, a criminal from Cal State LA, said he wanted to see more evidence that the shooting was gang-related, a term police often use to provide support. He said that the incidents of gangs are more mundane and most of them happen in what is considered as gang neighborhood.
“If you look at a map of the city’s gang homicide – or any city – over time, you’ll see the same areas illuminated – which means they’re here. If these guys were white, it wouldn’t be gang-related – not even for a minute. “
Authorities credited the witnesses with contributing about 200 videos, photos and other tips to help with the investigation.
Police are trying to determine if a stolen handgun found at the crime scene was used in the massacre. It was converted into an automatic shotgun.
A law enforcement official told The Associated Press they were also investigating a gun that one of the brothers, Smiley Martin, 27, identified in a video, was used in the shooting. The officer was briefed on the investigation but was not allowed to discuss the details in public and spoke on condition of anonymity.
Martin and his brother were among the wounded in the gunfight that began around 2 a.m. Sunday when the bar closed and patrons filled the street.
Janataya Alexander, 21, of Sacramento County Corona, identified the three women killed as; Melinda Davis, 57; And Yamil Martinez-Android, 21. The three killed were Sergio Harris, 38; Joshua Hoye-Lucchesi, 32; And Divajia Turner, 29.
In addition to Martin’s brother, 10 people were injured. At least two people were shot and hospitalized.
Smiley Martin has been charged with possession of a firearm and possession of a machine gun by a banned person. It is unknown at this time what he will do after leaving the post.
Her brother, Dandry Martin, 26, was arrested as a “relative suspect” and appeared briefly in Sacramento Superior Court on Tuesday on a charge of carrying a loaded gun.
He did not enter an application and his attorney said he would wait to see if prosecutors brought more serious charges before deciding to release him.
Both have criminal records. Smiley Martin was released from prison in February after serving nearly half of his 10-year sentence for beating his girlfriend. He was denied parole last year when prosecutors said he “clearly pays little attention to human life,” documents show.
Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg questioned why the brothers were on the streets.
“These questions need to be answered and will be answered in the coming days,” Steinberg said.
A 31-year-old man was seen carrying a handgun shortly after he was arrested on Tuesday on a weapons charge. Police say they do not believe his gun was used in the shooting.
(Copyright (c) 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved
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