(CNN) — Police are scrambling to find the assailants who opened fire in the California capital Sunday, killing six people and injuring 12 others.
“Investigators are working to identify those responsible for this horrific act,” Sacramento Police Chief Katherine Lester said Sunday afternoon. “We know that a large fight took place just prior to the shootings. And we have confirmed that there are multiple shooters.”
The motive for the mass shooting remains unclear.
One of the victims, 38-year-old Sergio Harris, was “a very vivacious young man” who smiled all the time and never bothered anyone, his mother Pamela Harris told CNN affiliate KOVR.
“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.”
California Attorney General Rob Bonta urged the public to come forward with any information about the shooting.
“Enough is enough. The sickening gun violence plaguing our communities must end,” he said.
“There have been about as many mass shootings in America as days so far in 2022. My office continues our work to get illegal guns off our streets, hold those responsible for gun violence accountable, and push for — and defend in court — commonsense gun laws. This work is urgent. We must act now.”
A senseless mass tragedy
A large crowd had gathered near 10th and K streets when gunfire erupted around 2 a.m. Sunday, Lester said. But she said it’s not clear whether the crowd was connected to a particular venue or event.
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. Police said part of the incident was captured on a nearby camera.
For reasons still unknown, three men and three women were killed. The Sacramento County Coroner’s Office has been working to notify their families.
Lester said a stolen handgun was among the hundreds of pieces of evidence found at the scene.
The mass shooting happened in a busy part of downtown, just a few blocks from the California State Capitol, Sacramento City Hall and the Golden 1 Center, where the Sacramento Kings played the Golden State Warriors on Sunday night.
“Obviously, it’s an incredible tragedy. I hope it doesn’t put a bold eye on our city because I think it’s a great place to be and a great place to live,” Sacramento Kings Head Coach Alvin Gentry said.
“It’s unfortunate that something like that can still happen nowadays in an environment where everybody is out having fun,” he said. “The gun thing has to change. The accessibility to guns in general, but to automatic weapons is my own personal opinion.”
Golden State Warriors Head Coach Steve Kerr said he thought it was appropriate for both teams to observe a moment of silence before the game.
“But I’ll be honest, it’s probably the ninth or tenth moment of silence that I will have experienced as coach of the Warriors, when we mourn the losses of people who have died in mass shootings,” Kerr said. “So I don’t think moments of silence are gonna do anything.”
‘Thoughts and prayers are not enough’
Sacramento 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.”
He said Sacramento will keep investing in programs focused on early intervention and violence prevention for young people.
“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 said Sacramento is “another community devastated by gun violence” and called 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.”
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