Police have arrested a third suspect in connection to a mass shooting in downtown Sacramento, California, this weekend that left six people dead and a chaotic crime scene littered with more than 100 shell casings.
The suspect was taken into custody for “being a prohibited person in possession of a firearm,” police said. The 31-year-old was seen carrying a gun in the immediate aftermath of the shooting, police said, but they believe that gun was not fired in the melee.
Earlier Tuesday, Smiley Martin, 27, was taken into custody. He was found at the scene of the shooting early Sunday with “serious injuries from gunfire” and taken to a local hospital, the Sacramento Police Department said in a news release. Police “quickly identified” him as a “person of interest” and kept him under police supervision at the hospital, the release said.
According to police, Smiley Martin is the brother of Dandrae Martin, a suspect arrested Monday in connection to the shooting, which also left 12 people wounded and was one of more than 120 mass shootings in the United States this year and one of at least 10 shooting incidents over the weekend.
Once Smiley Martin’s medical care is complete, he will be booked at the Sacramento County Main Jail on charges of possession of a firearm by a prohibited person and possession of a machine gun, police said.
“That firearm was modified from its original condition with a component that made it capable of firing automatic gunfire and would classify it as a machine gun by California law,” Sacramento Police Officer Chad Lewis said at a news briefing Tuesday.
Dandrae Martin, 26, who was identified as a “related suspect,” appeared in court Tuesday but did not enter a plea.
The hearing was postponed until April 26, as police haven’t provided an incident report yet, defense attorney Linda Parisi said. Martin is being held without bail, which may be set at the next hearing.
He was booked on assault and illegal firearm possession charges, according to police, but the only official charge for now is possession of a firearm.
Parisi said she has very limited details about the incident and is waiting to receive more information from prosecutors.
Her client was “very somber” during their brief discussion, Parisi said, adding she feels the response to gun violence should be bigger than one case.
“This is not just a criminal justice issue, and it is narrow-sighted to say, ‘Well, all we have to do is address what happened on this occasion, have it processed through the criminal justice (system),’” she told reporters. “It’s bigger than that and we need to address that. People are suffering, all people. As I say, everyone is touched by gun violence.”
Sacramento County District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert noted in a statement posted online Monday that Dandrae Martin has not been charged with a homicide, adding she believed authorities would take more people into custody.
“The investigation is highly complex involving many witnesses, videos of numerous types and significant physical evidence,” Schubert said. “This is an ongoing investigation and we anticipate more arrests in this case.”
Multiple shooters were involved, police chief says
The shooting happened just after 2 a.m. in a bustling part of downtown, just a few blocks from the California State Capitol, Sacramento City Hall and the Golden 1 Center, where the city’s NBA team plays home games.
A video posted on social media appears to show an altercation before the shooting, police said in a statement. “We are currently working to determine what, if any, relation these events have to the shooting,” the statement said.
Detectives have since found “hundreds of items of evidence at the scene,” police said in the news release Tuesday, including more than 100 shell casings. Investigators also located a stolen handgun, police said, that was “found to have been converted to a weapon capable of automatic gunfire.”
Police have said they cannot rule out gang violence, but detectives are still trying to pinpoint the exact motive and whether any victims were specifically targeted.
Police have said that at least three buildings and three cars were hit by bullets.
“There were a lot of shots fired that night, and hence the complexity of the investigation,” police Chief Katherine Lester told CNN affiliate KCRA.
Lester has said there were multiple shooters and that a large fight preceded the gunfire. A stolen handgun was among the hundreds of pieces of evidence found at the scene, she said Sunday.
Police served search warrants at three homes and at least one handgun was recovered, Sacramento police said in a news release. Authorities said they have received more than 100 video or photo files on a tip portal.
Victims as young as 21
The Sacramento County Coroner’s Office on Monday identified the six victims who died:
– Johntaya Alexander, 21
– Melinda Davis, 57
– Sergio Harris, 38
– Joshua Hoye-Lucchesi, 32
– Yamile Martinez-Andrade, 21
– Devazia Turner, 29
The tragedy has devastated the victims’ families, confounded the community and angered those who are frustrated by yet another mass shooting.
“My son was a very vivacious young man,” Harris’ mother Pamela Harris told CNN affiliate KOVR. She said her son smiled all the time and never bothered anyone.
“And for this to happen, it’s crazy,” she said. “And I’m just to the point right now (where) I don’t know what to do. I don’t even think this is real.”
Sacramento’s second mass shooting in recent weeks
The incident was the second mass shooting in Sacramento in the past five weeks. On February 28, a man fatally shot three of his children and another man at a church. The gunman took his own life, authorities said.
Mayor Darrell Steinberg said solutions – not well wishes – are needed to help change the trajectory of gun violence in America.
“Thoughts and prayers are not enough,” he said. “It is beyond time to have a sane conversation (about) guns in America. We have a sickness – it’s a sickness in our country, it’s a sickness in our culture.”
Sacramento will keep investing in programs focused on early intervention and violence prevention for young people, he said.
“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.
Gov. Gavin Newsom issued a statement saying the “scourge of gun violence continues to be a crisis in our country, and we must resolve to bring an end to this carnage.”
And President Joe Biden described Sacramento as “another community devastated by gun violence,” calling on Congress to act on gun control measures.
“In a single act in Sacramento, six individuals left dead and at least a dozen more injured,” Biden said in a statement. “Families forever changed. Survivors left to heal wounds both visible and invisible.”
CNN’s Susannah Cullinane, Holly Yan and Cheri Mossburg contributed to this report.