Downtown Sacramento shooting: What we know and latest updates

Table of Contents

May 3, 4:24 p.m.: Three charged with murder in Sacramento’s worst mass shooting

One month after the deadly mass shooting in downtown Sacramento that killed six people and injured a dozen more, District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert has announced murder charges in the killings.

Schubert said three suspects — Mtula Payton, Smiley Martin and Dandrae Martin — all face three counts of homicide in the deaths of Johntaya Alexander, Melinda Davis and Yamile Martinez on the morning of April 3 near K Street. 

“It doesn’t matter whose bullet killed who,” Schubert said on Tuesday. “What matters is that this was a gun battle between rival gang members who came down to this scene in downtown Sacramento and innocent bystanders died.”

Brothers Dandrae and Smiley Martin are both in custody. Police are still searching for Payton, who in addition to homicide is also facing charges of defrauding the state’s unemployment department. All three are also facing weapons-related charges.

April 21, 4:49 p.m.: Man arrested in connection to mass shooting moved from hospital to jail, faces court date

One of the people arrested in connection with the April 3 mass shooting in downtown Sacramento has been moved from the hospital to the County’s main jail and will be in court for the first time Friday.

Smiley Martin was wounded in what police say was a shootout between rival gangs in which at least five people fired more than a hundred bullets. Documents indicate Martin fired 28 of those himself. 

Six people were killed, and 12 — including Martin — were wounded. Martin is being held without bail, booked on charges of being a felon in possession of a firearm and possession of a machine gun. He’ll be arraigned at 3 p.m. on Friday.

Martin is the brother of Dandrae Martin, who was arrested April 4 in connection with the shooting. Dandrae Martin was booked on assault with a deadly weapon and for carrying a loaded firearm, and will next appear in court on April 26. Neither man has been charged with homicides or firing a weapon in relation to the shooting.

April 12: 5:10 p.m.: Sacramento police say they’ve identified another shooting suspect

Sacramento police have identified a man they say was one of at least five shooters in last week’s mass shooting in downtown on K Street that left six people dead and a dozen injured.

Authorities say Mtula Payton, 27, is wanted on multiple felony warrants, including domestic violence and gun charges. Police officials say Payton’s domestic violence warrant stems from an incident the afternoon before the deadly shooting. 

They say officers “have made multiple attempts to locate and arrest him” and are now asking for the public’s help.

Sacramento Police Chief Kathy Lester said in a press release that the department’s goal is to “conduct as thorough an investigation as possible” to help county District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert’s case “that will bring justice to the families of the victims and our entire community.”

“The investigation has moved very quickly in this first week, and it will continue until we can present prosecutors and the public with a complete picture of this terrible crime,” Lester said.

Police officials said last week that the shooting started after a fight between at least two rival groups. So far, only two people have been arrested in connection to the deadly shooting — brothers Smiley and Dandrae Martin, both of whom were allegedly shooters.

April 7: 4:43 p.m.: It may take time before homicide charges are filed in Sacramento mass shooting, legal expert says

Despite three arrests in the Sacramento mass shooting early Sunday morning, authorities have not yet filed murder charges. Six people were killed and a dozen injured in last weekend’s shooting. 

Two suspects in custody face charges directly related to the shooting. A third, currently out on bail, faces a charge of illegally possessing a gun police believe was not fired during the incident. 

The arrests so far have been related to firearms charges. Experts say the police and prosecutors face a number of legal complexities. 

“I think what’s happening is normal and reasonably paced at the moment as they sift through the evidence, grab people for things they know they can prove as they put together the larger case which will involve, no doubt, multiple counts of murder and potentially conspiracy to commit murder,” said William Portanova, a former state and federal prosecutor who now practices criminal defense law in Sacramento.

The Sacramento Police Department said Wednesday in a press release that at least five people fired guns during the shooting, and that “gang violence is at the center of this tragedy.” Portanova said it may be weeks before authorities file homicide charges related to the shooting.

April 7, 12:19 p.m.: Steinberg calls for $3 billion for victims, behavioral health treatment 

Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg is calling for huge investments in public safety and expanded mental health treatment in the wake of Sunday’s mass shooting in downtown Sacramento. Some Democrats are also doubling down on recent criminal sentencing reforms.   

Steinberg joined advocates for criminal justice reform Wednesday in calling for nearly $3 billion for behavioral health treatment, as well as increased substance abuse treatment in and out of prisons. That money would also include new funding to support crime victims and those leaving prison or jail.

“Let’s make sure that we got 24/7 wraparound intervention and care for anybody who leaves that county jail,” Steinberg said. “And you better believe that will avert more tragedies in the future and will make for a safer and a healthier California.” 

The shooting took place near the state Capitol building, leaving six dead and 12 injured. It has amplified calls from Democrats for stricter gun laws, and from Republicans for reversing criminal justice reforms, including early release programs.

Assembly Republican leader James Gallagher of Yuba City said he’s open to discussing the money Steinberg and others are asking for. 

“Certainly, as Republicans, we do believe in rehabilitation,” Gallagher said. “But we have to have accountability. And that’s what the real issue here is.”

Gallagher said it’s unacceptable that one suspect was reportedly granted early release this year despite objections from the Sacramento County District Attorney.

April 6, 12:00 p.m.: Sacramento PD believes at least five gunmen involved in K St. shooting, claim incident is ‘gang-related’

The Sacramento Police Department said it believes at least five individuals fired guns during the tragic shooting on K Street that left six dead and a dozen wounded early Sunday morning. 

The department claimed in a press release “it is increasingly clear that gang violence is at the center of this tragedy,” and that two groups of men exchanged gunfire. The department said it would not elaborate on the details of how gangs allegedly factored into the shooting or identify the alleged gangs involved.

“The suffering inflicted by gang violence does not limit itself to gang members,” said Chief Kathy Lester in the press release. “It spills over to claim and shatter innocent lives and harm our entire community.”

The department credited the “remarkable level of assistance from the public” in aiding the investigation. The release said nearly 200 videos, photos and other pieces of evidence had been submitted.

The department encourages members of the public with tips, videos or photos related to the incident to call their dispatch center at (916) 808-5471 or go to its website to submit materials.

April 6, 10:34 a.m.: California advances bill allowing citizens to sue those who distribute illegal assault weapons

California is advancing a new way to deter illegal weapons, spurred by Sunday’s mass shooting in downtown Sacramento near the state Capitol. 

A state Senate committee Tuesday advanced a bill allowing private citizens to sue anyone who distributes illegal assault weapons, parts that can be used to build weapons, guns without serial numbers, or .50 caliber rifles. The penalty is at least $10,000 in civil damages for each weapon, plus attorneys fees. Opponents say it’s an absurd tit-for-tat with Texas over a bill there to deter abortions. 

The proposal faces several more hearings before it can go to Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom, who proposed the measure.

April 5, 4:43 p.m.: Former Sacramento police chief says expect information to come out slowly

The investigation continues into the weekend mass shooting in downtown Sacramento. Three people have been arrested, two in connection with the shooting, but none have been charged with murder. 

Daniel Hahn, former chief of the Sacramento Police Department, says in complex cases like this one, information has to be handled and processed carefully.

“It’s important when the officers talk to witnesses that they are getting that from their own memory and not from the news,” Hahn said. “So I’m sure the police department will release more information when they can, but at the early points in the investigation they keep things really close so as not to contaminate any evidence.” 

Hahn, who retired last year, said he hopes the community will avoid looking for quick solutions to violent crime, and instead try to address root causes like poverty.

“What the long-term solution is to work holistically on this,” he said. “And as we’ve seen throughout history, heavy law enforcement, heavy arrests, zero tolerance, crime goes down. Then we want to hold people accountable. Not as much law enforcement or no law enforcement at all. Crime goes back up and we keep swinging from one extreme to the other instead of dealing with the real issues that we have.”

Read the full interview with Hahn here.

April 5, 1:30 p.m.: Sacramento Police arrest third individual, connection to shooting unclear

Sacramento police have arrested a third individual following the mass shooting on K Street that left six dead and 12 wounded.

A press release from the Sacramento Police Department said detectives identified a man who was allegedly seen carrying a gun immediately following the shooting. Detectives later “recovered a handgun” and arrested an individual late Monday on charges of being a “prohibited person in possession of a firearm.”

However, the release says the person is “not charged with a crime directly related to the shootings” and detectives “do not believe the recovered gun was used in the shooting.” 

The Sacramento Police Department said in an email it is continuing to identify additional suspects.

April 5, 8:10 a.m.: Mayor to call for $3 billion state investment in crime prevention, healing services

Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg has announced Tuesday morning that he plans to join crime victims, lawmakers and criminal justice reform advocates to call for “immediate and substantial investments” on crime prevention and healing services for crime victims.

He’ll be joined by state Sen. Maria Elena Durazo, Asm. Miguel Santiago and Asm. Isaac Bryan, along with representatives from Californians for Safety and Justice

Philip Melendez, Smart Justice California and ACLU California Action at an event on Wednesday, asking for $3 billion in state funding.

This funding would need to be either part of Gov. Gavin Newsom’s updated budget, which will be presented in May and approved by lawmakers this summer, or it will need to be new legislation that Newsom signs later this year.

There are not yet details on the specifics of this funding, such as who would receive the crime prevention dollars.

The press event is scheduled for 10 a.m. on Wednesday at the steps of the State Library and Courts Building in downtown Sacramento, which is a few blocks from the site of Sunday morning’s mass shooting.

April 5, 6 a.m.: Second suspect arrested in Sacramento mass shooting 

Sacramento police have announced a second arrest in Sunday’s mass shooting.

On Tuesday morning, detectives took 27-year-old Smiley Martin into custody. Martin was identified at the scene of the shooting, where they had suffered serious injuries and were taken to a hospital. 

He remains at the hospital under law enforcement supervision, and police say he will be transported to jail when healthy enough and booked on charges of possession of a firearm by a prohibited person and possession of a machine gun.

Martin is the brother of Dandrae Martin, the 26-year-old arrested on Monday. Dandrae Martin was booked on assault with a deadly weapon and for carrying a loaded firearm, but has not been charged with homicides in relation to Sunday’s shooting, according to Sacramento District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert.

Police say they have so far received 170 video or photo files from the public related to the shooting.

Editor’s note: CapRadio is naming the suspects arrested in connection with the shooting because of the seriousness of the crime.

April 4, 11:17 p.m.: Community members gather at vigils to mourn victims of mass shooting

A day after the largest mass shooting in Sacramento history, community members gathered at the corner of K and 10th streets to honor the six people who were killed and the 12 who were injured. It was one of at least two vigils Monday evening — the other put on by Mayor Darrell Steinberg’s office across the street from the Golden 1 Center.

On the corner where the shooting took place, Jerome Chapel, a member of the Black Child Legacy Campaign’s trauma response team, passed out candles and led those standing by in a prayer. About a dozen people lit candles for Sergio Harris, the 38-year-old man who was killed during the shooting. 

Vigil attendees gather at 7th and K street in Downtown Sacramento on Monday, April 4, 2022.Andrew Nixon / CapRadio

Chapel said that his organization is working to help family members who are struggling to navigate the aftermath. 

“We’re here to help comfort the family any way that we can, whatever it’s going to take,” he said. “A lot of times, families don’t have the resources to make final arrangements for their loved ones – we can help them navigate through the system and find a way to do that.” 

A few blocks away, dozens of people — mostly news media, city officials and city staffers, along with some community members — gathered for a separate vigil.

Read more and see photos of the vigils here.

April 4, 2:52 p.m.: Homeless woman one of those killed in K Street shooting

Melinda Davis, a 57-year-old homeless woman, was among the six people shot and killed in downtown Sacramento early Sunday morning.

Davis had been a frequent guest at Loaves and Fishes, a nearby homeless services center.

Shannon Dominguez-Stevens, who works there, says homeless people have nowhere to hide when violence breaks out. 

“People experiencing homelessness on the streets of Sacramento, on the streets anywhere, are already subject to unspeakable trauma and violence,” Dominguez-Stevens said. “For something like this to happen, I think, really highlights the systemic issues that need to be addressed in order for things like this to be prevented in the future.”

Davis was known to sleep in the doorways of businesses close to where the downtown shooting took place. The exact details of her death are not yet known.

Authorities have released the names of the six people killed in Sunday’s mass shooting in downtown Sacramento. The victims ranged from 21 to 57 years old.

A vigil to remember the victims will be held Monday at 8 p.m. at K and Seventh streets.

The downtown Sacramento streets where Sunday’s early morning mass shooting took place are finally reopened this morning, with nearly two dozen TV cameras dotting the intersection of K and 10th streets just after 5 a.m.

As of Sunday evening, 10th between L and J streets was an active crime scene, with law enforcement investigators scouring the area for information about the shooting, which killed six and injured 12 people so far.

The Sacramento County coroner’s office identified one of the victims Sunday evening as Sergio Harris, 38. CapRadio had spoke to Harris Leticia Fields-Harris early Sunday morning at the scene of the incident. She said she’d received a call from her daughter that there was a shooting, and to come downtown. Her husband, Sergio Harris, was possibly one of those shot. 

“He just loved living life and trying to make a difference, making a mark on himself, you know, being better,” Fields-Harris said. 

Mayor Darrell Steinberg announced that he will attend a vigil to remember the victims on Monday evening at K and Seventh streets, and that he plans to speak at approximately 8 p.m

An investigator with the Sacramento Police Department takes a photo of the scene of a shooting near 10th and K streets Sunday, April 3, 2022.Andrew Nixon / CapRadio

Six people are dead and a dozen others injured by gunfire after a mass shooting in downtown Sacramento early Sunday morning.

Police say the shooting broke out right after 2 a.m. as bars were closing on K Street, just one block from the state Capitol building. Video posted to social media shows a chaotic scene on the street outside a club: a fight, cut short by rapid gunfire and people running for cover. 

No arrests have been made, but police say there were multiple shooters. They recovered a stolen handgun at the scene.

Mayor Darrell Steinberg called increasing gun violence a nation-wide sickness and said only thoughts and prayers for the victims are not enough.

“We can’t do that. In our city, we will take stock and we will do everything we can on the investment side, on the public safety side, on the gun side, to protect the public,” Steinberg said.

Leticia Fields’ husband, Sergio Harris was among the dead. When she got a call about the shooting in the middle of the night, Fields rushed to the scene, where she waited for hours for confirmation that her husband had been killed.  

“He loved his kids. He was a happy person, that’s for sure,” she said. “He just loved living life and trying to make a difference, trying to make a mark on himself.”

This is the second mass shooting to rock California’s capital city this year. Just over a month ago, a man killed his three young daughters, a chaperone and himself during a supervised visit at a church.

The shooting didn’t deter thousands of fans from attending a Sacramento Kings game against the Golden State Warriors Sunday night.

Sal and Raina Garcia debated whether to attend the game, but ultimately decided to go.

“We’ve been to Golden 1 Center many times, so we know that just getting in here, the security is very well done,” Sal Garcia said. “So we do feel safe here, but again, still with our minds on what happened last night.

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