Police investigating an apparent gun battle in California that left six dead and 12 wounded re-opened the streets on Monday, as the United States grappled again with deadly violence.
No one has been arrested after the worst mass shooting in Sacramento’s history, which appeared to have erupted following a fight in the downtown area as nightclubs were emptying around 2:00 am Sunday.
Sacramento Police said multiple shooters were involved and a stolen handgun had been recovered.
But detectives have given no information as to whether anyone was targeted or if the shooters were firing indiscriminately.
Video circulating on social media appeared to show some kind of brawl, followed by the sounds of gunfire and people running.
Police Chief Kathy Lester told reporters that officers on patrol nearby had been alerted by the sound of the gunshots, and arrived to find a large crowd and “multiple gunshot victims.”
Video footage of the immediate aftermath showed first responders tending to bloodied victims. The bodies of the dead lay nearby.
Three of those who died were women. All six have now been identified.
“It was just horrific,” said community activist Berry Accius, who arrived minutes after the shooting.
“Just as soon as I walked up you saw a chaotic scene, police all over the place, victims with blood all over their bodies, folks screaming, folks crying, people going, ‘Where is my brother?’ Mothers crying and trying to identify who their child was,” he told local broadcaster KXTV.
The shooting happened in the downtown area, just blocks from the state capitol and close to the venue where the NBA’s Sacramento Kings play.
‘We must act’
The Kings hosted the Golden State Warriors on Sunday evening, holding a moment of silence before the game.
Outspoken Warriors coach Steve Kerr said gun laws had to change if tragedies like this were to be avoided.
“It’s probably the ninth or 10th moment of silence I’ve experienced as coach of the Warriors when we mourn the losses of our people who have died in mass shootings,” he said, according to the Sacramento Bee newspaper.
“At some point, our government has to decide: Are we going to have some commonsense gun laws? It’s not going to solve everything, but it will save lives.”
President Joe Biden on Sunday added his voice to calls for action.
“America once again mourns for another community devastated. We must do more than mourn; we must act,” he said, reiterating his call for Congress to pass legislation to strengthen restrictions on guns.
California Governor Gavin Newsom described gun violence as a “crisis” for the country.
“We cannot continue to let gun violence be the new normal,” he said.
The mass casualty shooting is the latest in the United States, where firearms are involved in approximately 40,000 deaths a year, including suicides, according to the Gun Violence Archive website.
Lax gun laws and a constitutionally guaranteed right to bear arms have repeatedly stymied attempts to clamp down on the number of weapons in circulation, despite greater controls being favored by the majority of Americans.
Three-quarters of all homicides in the US are committed with guns, and the number of pistols, revolvers and other firearms sold continues to rise.
More than 23 million guns were sold in 2020 — a record — on top of 20 million in 2021, according to data compiled by website Small Arms Analytics.
That number does not include “ghost” guns, which are sold disassembled, lack serial numbers, and are highly prized in criminal circles.
In June 2021, 30 percent of American adults said they owned at least one gun, according to a Pew survey.