Police said Wednesday that investigators believe at least five shooters were involved in the mass shooting in downtown Sacramento, Calif., last weekend and that it was gang-related violence.
The Sacramento police department said in a statement that there was a gunfight between at least two groups of men.
Six people were killed in the bloodshed and 12 were wounded. The injured include two brothers who have been taken into custody in connection with the massacre.
No one has been yet been charged with homicide.
At least two people remain hospitalized with gunshot wounds. Authorities credited evidence and tips provided by the public with their break in the investigation.
Smiley Martin, 27, was arrested Tuesday on suspicion of possession of a firearm by a prohibited person and possession of a machine gun. Hours before Sunday’s attack, Martin posted a live Facebook video of himself brandishing a handgun, a law enforcement official told The Associated Press.
Police were trying to determine if a stolen handgun found at the crime scene was used in the massacre. It had been converted to a weapon capable of automatic gunfire.
‘I don’t even feel like this is real’
Detectives also were trying to determine whether the gun Martin brandished in the video was used, according to the official, who was briefed on the investigation but was not authorized to publicly discuss details and spoke on condition of anonymity.
Martin and his brother Dandrae were among those wounded when gunfire erupted about a block from the state Capitol at about 2 a.m. local time Sunday as bars closed and patrons filled the streets. More than 100 shots were unleashed in rapid-fire succession as hundreds of people scrambled for safety. Investigators were trying to determine if a street fight outside a nightclub may have sparked the shooting.
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 De’vazia Turner, 29.
“My son was a very vivacious young man,” Harris’s mother, Pamela told KCRA-TV. “Fun to be around, liked to party, smiling all the time. Don’t bother people. For this to happen is crazy. I’m just to the point right now, I don’t know what to do. I don’t even feel like this is real. I feel like this is a dream.”
Ten people were wounded in addition to the Martin brothers. Smiley Martin remained hospitalized and will be booked on the charges when his condition improves enough for him to be jailed, a police statement said.
Dandrae Martin, 26, was arrested Monday as a “related suspect” on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon and being a convict carrying a loaded gun. He made a brief appearance on the gun possession charge Tuesday in Sacramento Superior Court.
Investigators believe both brothers had stolen guns and are trying to determine how they got them, the law enforcement official told the AP. Both had criminal records.
A 31-year-old man who was seen carrying a handgun immediately after the shooting was arrested Tuesday on a weapons charge. Police said they don’t believe his gun was used in the crime.
Defence lawyer Linda Parisi said an effort to seek Dandrae Martin’s release on bail will depend on whether prosecutors bring stiffer charges.
“If it turns out that the evidence demonstrates that this was mere presence at a scene that certainly argues more for a release,” Parisi said. “If it shows some more aggressive conduct then it would argue against it. But we don’t know that yet.”