By ADAM BEAM and KATHLEEN RONAYNE
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — Sacramento police arrested a man Monday in connection with the shooting that killed six people and wounded a dozen more in the heart of California’s capital as several shooters fired more than 100 quick shots and people ran for their lives. .
Police said they booked Dandrae Martin, 26, as a “related suspect” on charges of assault with a deadly weapon and being a convicted felon carrying a loaded weapon. Detectives and SWAT team members found a handgun during searches of three area homes.
The arrest came as the three women and three men slain were identified in the shooting that occurred around 2 a.m. Sunday as bars closed and patrons filled the streets near the state Capitol.
Among those killed were a father of four, a young woman who wanted to be a social worker, a man described as the life of the party and a woman who lived on the nearby streets and was looking for housing.
The Sacramento County coroner identified the slain women as Johntaya Alexander, 21; Melinda Davis, 57; and Yamile Martinez-Andrade, 21. The three men were Sergio Harris, 38; Joshua Hoye-Lucchesi, 32; and De’vazia Turner, 29.
Turner, who had three daughters and a son, was a “protector” who worked as a night manager at an inventory company, his mother, Penelope Scott, told The Associated Press. She rarely went out, and she had no reason to believe she would be in any danger when she left her house after visiting her on Saturday night.
“My son was walking down the street and someone started shooting, and they shot him. Why is that going to happen? Scott said. “I feel like I have a hole in my heart.”
The volley of gunfire sent people running in terror in the neighborhood just blocks from the stadium where the NBA’s Sacramento Kings play.
Detectives were trying to determine if a stolen firearm found at the crime scene was related to the shooting, Police Chief Kathy Lester said. Witnesses responded to her request for help by providing more than 100 videos and photos of evidence.
District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert noted that Martin was not arrested on suspicion of murder, but suggested that investigators were making progress.
“The investigation is very complex and involves many witnesses, videos of numerous types, and significant physical evidence,” Schubert said in a statement. “This is an ongoing investigation and we anticipate more arrests in this case.”
Martin was being held without bond and was scheduled to appear in Sacramento County Superior Court on Tuesday, according to jail records.
Martin was released from an Arizona prison in 2020 after serving just over a year and a half for violating probation in separate cases involving a 2016 felony conviction for aggravated assault and a 2018 conviction on a marijuana charge. .
Court records show he pleaded guilty to beating, kicking and strangling a woman in a hotel room when she refused to work for him as a prostitute.
He was also wanted by the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department in southern California on a misdemeanor charge.
It was not immediately clear if Martin had an attorney who could speak on his behalf.
Of the 12 injured, at least four suffered serious injuries, the Sacramento Fire Department said. At least seven of the victims had been released from hospitals by Monday.
In the place where chaos erupted, the streets were reopened on Monday and the police tape was removed.
Monuments with candles and flowers began to grow on sidewalks where video showed people screaming and running for cover as gunshots rang out and others lying on the ground writhing in pain. One balloon had a message that read in part: “You will always be in our hearts and thoughts. Nothing will ever be the same.”
A small bouquet of purple roses was dedicated to Davis, who lived on the streets for years, with a note that read “Melinda rests in peace.”
Harris was a regular at the London nightclub near the scene of the shooting.
“My son was a very lively young man,” his mother, Pamela Harris, told KCRA-TV. “He’s fun to be around, I like to party, he smiles all the time. Don’t bother people. That this is happening is crazy. …I don’t even feel like this is real. I feel like this is a dream.”
Alexander was a caring aunt who wanted to work with children as a social worker.
“She was just starting her life,” her father, John Alexander, told the Los Angeles Times, sobbing. “Stop all these pointless shooting.”
Politicians denounced the violence, and some Democrats, including President Joe Biden, called for tougher measures against gun violence.
California has some of the toughest restrictions on firearms in the country, requiring background checks to purchase guns and ammunition, limiting magazines to 10 rounds and banning firearms that fall under its definition of assault weapons.
But state lawmakers plan to go further. A bill set for its first hearing on Tuesday would allow citizens to sue those who own illegal guns, a move inspired by a controversial Texas abortion bill.
Other legislation proposed by California this year would make it easier for people to sue gun companies and target unregistered “ghost guns.”
The California Assembly held a minute of silence Monday in honor of the victims.
Assemblyman Kevin McCarty, a Democrat representing Sacramento, noted that lawmakers could see the crime scene from the balcony of the building.
“Tragic is too small a word to describe what happened just two nights ago as a devastating loss to our city,” McCarty said.
Police were investigating whether the shooting was related to a street fight that broke out just before gunfire erupted. Multiple people could be seen on video fighting on a street lined with a luxury hotel, nightclubs and bars as gunfire caused people to disperse.
Scott, a hospice social worker who deals with death for a living, said she was not prepared for this kind of pain.
“I know the grieving process but, you know, this is my son,” he said. “It is tragic and sudden. I just saw it, I had it in my house. He has children. He has a wife.
This story has corrected the spelling of the suspect’s name to Dandrae, not Dandre.
Associated Press writers Stefanie Dazio and Brian Melley in Los Angeles, Don Thompson in Sacramento, Jacques Billeaud in Phoenix, and news researcher Rhonda Shafner in New York City contributed to this report.