Sacramento Shooting Stemmed From Yearslong Gang Warfare, Police Say

California’s capital has seen a steady climb in homicides over the past three years.

Sacramento police on Wednesday (April 6) blamed gang violence for the shooting that killed six people and injured a dozen more in the early morning hours of April 3 in the downtown area.

“As detectives learn more about the shootings, it is increasingly clear that gang violence is at the center of this tragedy. While we cannot at this time elaborate on the precise gang affiliation of individuals involved, gangs and gang violence are inseparable from the events that drove these shootings,” the police stated.

The ongoing investigation now reveals that at least five shooters were involved in an exchange of gunfire between at least two groups of men. Gang violence is a longstanding problem in some neighborhoods of California’s capital city, which has seen a steady uptick in homicides in recent years.

RELATED: Investigators Trying To Piece Together Details Of The Sacramento Mass Shooting That Killed Six

So far, the police identified Dandrae Martin, 26, as a suspect who fired a weapon, The Sacramento Bee reported. However, prosecutors charged him only with illegally possessing a handgun, stemming from a 2017 domestic violence conviction in Arizona.

As the Los Angeles Times reports, many unanswered questions remain as investigators sift through tons of evidence that includes more than 200 videos and social media posts. At this point, three suspects were arrested but no one has been charged with homicide.

Police booked Martin’s brother, Smiley Martin III, 27, for suspicion of “possession of a firearm by a prohibitive person and possession of a machine gun.” Smiley has a lengthy police record and is affiliated with the Crips gang.

RELATED: Sacramento Mass Shooting Suspect Reportedly Released Early From 10-Year Prison Sentence

A third person of interest, Daviyonne Dawson, 31, faces charges of being a prohibited person in possession of a firearm. He was arrested near the crime scene with a gun that he didn’t fire.

At the same time, the police have yet to identify a motive for the shooting, according to the Bee.

“In a lot of investigations, sometimes motive is one of the aspects of the investigation that takes a little while to figure out,” police spokesman Sgt. Zach Eaton said, adding that it’s unclear right now if shooters were among the victims.

Citing court records, the Bee reported that at least two of the six victims were believed to have gang affiliations. The newspaper identified them as Sergio Harris, 38, a known member of the Del Paso Heights Bloods, and Josh Hoye-Lucchesi, a member of the Crips.

“This tragedy downtown is a very public example of what families in many of our neighborhoods know too well,” Police Chief Kathy Lester said. “The suffering inflicted by gang violence does not limit itself to gang members. It spills over to claim and shatter innocent lives and harm our entire community.”

According to a Times analysis, Sacramento’s homicide rate has outpaced the rate in Los Angeles and other cities in recent years. In 2019, federal officials recorded 34 homicides in Sacramento. That figure increased to 42 in 2020 and 55 in 2021 – a 62 percent increase over three years.

The gang-related shooting prompted Sacramento Mayor Darrel Steinberg on Wednesday (April 6) to urge California Gov. Gavin Newsom to spend $3 billion on crime prevention and gang intervention, the Times reported.

Meanwhile, Republican lawmakers, law enforcement officials and crime victims also called on the state to get tougher on crime by issuing harsher sentences for gang-related crimes and ending early prison releases.

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