SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — Sacramento police announced an arrest Monday connected with the shooting that killed six people and wounded a dozen others in the heart of California’s capital city as at least two shooters fired more than 100 rounds and people ran for their lives.
Police said they booked Dandre 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 in the shooting that occurred Sunday at about 2 a.m. 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 sent people running in terror in the neighborhood just a few blocks from Golden One Arena, where the NBA’s Sacramento Kings held a moment of silence for the victims 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.”
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.”
“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 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.
President Joe Biden called for action on gun crimes in a statement Sunday.
“Today, America once again mourns for another community devastated by gun violence,” Biden said. “But we must do more than mourn; we must act.”
On Feb. 28, a father killed his three daughters, a chaperone and himself in a Sacramento church during a weekly supervised visitation. David Mora, 39, was armed with a homemade semiautomatic rifle-style weapon, even though he was under a restraining order that prohibited him from possessing a firearm.
The crime scene Sunday sprawled across two city blocks, closing off a large swath of the city’s downtown. Bodies remained on the pavement throughout the day as Lester said investigators worked to process a “really complex and complicated scene” to make sure investigators gathered all the evidence they could to “see the perpetrators of this crime brought to justice.”
Councilmember Katie Valenzuela, who represents the area, said she’s fielded too many phone calls reporting violence in her district during her 15 months in office. She cried at a news conference as she told reporters that the latest phone call woke her up at 2:30 a.m. Sunday.
“I’m heartbroken and I’m outraged,” she said. “Our community deserves better than this.”