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Gang member says Sacramento shooting ‘came out of nowhere’

As police, policymakers and family members of victims continued to battle a deadly shooting in downtown Sacramento on Sunday that left six people dead and 12 injured, gang response experts in the city said that the outburst of violence seemed to have erupted without warning.

“I was just amazed,” said Julius Thibodeaux, who works with the Movement for Life group, which conducts a “boots on the ground” operation with gang members in the city. The group makes a point of knowing what is happening in the city’s troubled neighborhoods, to better try to stop the violence before it bursts. But Thibodeaux said when he heard the news at 3 a.m. Sunday of the carnage that unfolded outside downtown nightclubs a few blocks from the state capitol, he came “unexpectedly”.

After initially saying the fatal incident involved a man shooting from a car As bar patrons flocked to 10th Street, Sacramento police said Wednesday that at least five people drew weapons and began firing into the crowd. The dead included three fathers, two young women out for a night on the town and a homeless woman who often slept in the neighborhood and chatted with local shopkeepers.

In a statement, police said it was “increasingly clear that gang violence is at the center of this tragedy”. Police did not name the gangs they believe were involved or give a reason for the barrage of gunfire.

Only one suspected shooter has been named, 26-year-old Dandrae Martin. So far, however, he has only been charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm.

Sacramento police said in a Twitter update Thursday that they are continuing to work through a mountain of evidence in the case, including 200 videos submitted by the public, as well as interviews with witnesses. They also said casings found at the scene, which numbered more than 100, had been “submitted to a national database for evidence review”.

People who work on the streets of Sacramento with gang members and troubled youth, meanwhile, said they struggled to understand what happened and put in place interventions. to prevent further bloodshed. Some have questioned police characterization of the crime as gang-related.

“You had an active gang group, the Crips,” said Mervin Brookins, who co-founded Brother 2 Brother, a violence intervention program in the neighborhood where one of the victims was from. “And you had older guys who were Bloods,” he said. “It wasn’t motivated by one gang falling out with the other gang.”

He said he thought it was more likely that two groups of men had an escalating conflict, and that their current or past gang affiliations may have been incidental.

Thibodeaux, the Movement for Life speaker, said his group had planned for the summer, when more gun violence usually erupts because children are out of school and everyone is spending more time in hot weather in local parks and gathering places.

“We actually thought we were going to come out before the violence this summer,” he said.

But he added that programs like his have been challenged during the pandemic, due to a variety of factors. Closed schools gave young people more free time; the mentors were unable to meet their proteges; the closing of neighborhoods during the lockdown led to short-lived tantrums.

Before the pandemic, he points out, Sacramento went 28 months without a miner being killed. Now, he said, there is a need to “double down” on community support programs to reach at-risk boys and men.

“Everyone benefits from public safety,” he said. “I don’t think we can get out of this by the police.”

Berry Accius, a community activist who runs a nonprofit that works with young people, agreed.

“How come young people can find a gun faster than they can find an opportunity?” He asked. “If we invest in these young people now, they will become better adults for tomorrow.”

It’s a theme Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg and other progressives have also addressed this week, calling on Governor Gavin Newsom to spend $3 billion on crime prevention and other services.

But — coming from the other side of California’s contentious battle over criminal justice reform — scores of Republicans and law enforcement advocates held a press conference Thursday to argue that what’s really needed, it’s tougher sentences for gun and gang crimes and an end to early release from prison.

As the debate rages on, both sides will have to wait for more information from investigators about what happened.

Police have so far arrested three people, but none of them have been charged with murder, or even with shooting a gun on Sunday.

Police say Smiley Martin III, 27 – Dandrae Martin’s brother – had a gun at the scene, but he has not yet been charged. He will be incarcerated in the Sacramento County Main Jail on suspicion of “prohibitive possession of a firearm and possession of a machine gun” upon his release from the hospital. Smiley Martin was shot during the barrage. Police and court records show he has a long record of violent crimes dating back nearly a decade. He is affiliated with the Crips gang, according to his social media posts.

Another man, Daviyonne Dawson, 31, was arrested after he was seen carrying a gun following the shooting, but did not fire. Dawson is not charged with participating in the melee.

Police also declined to say whether they believed any of the dead were among the shooters.

Dist. Atti. Anne Marie Schubert told a local TV station that her office’s major crimes unit was handling the case and “obviously working very closely with the Sacramento Police Department” to provide them with resources and keep up with the times. abreast of developments in the complicated case. file charges against multiple suspects, his team “will have everything we need.”

Legal experts said it should come as no surprise that prosecutors have yet to file murder charges.

Prosecutors may believe they know who the shooters are, former Los Angeles County prosecutor Alan Jackson said.

“You might even know beyond a reasonable doubt that you’ve got the right person, but you haven’t crossed out all the Ts and dotted all the Is,” Jackson said. “You haven’t served all the subpoenas. You didn’t execute all the search warrants. You haven’t gathered all the evidence you can to justify filing a bulletproof case.

In the meantime, he said, prosecutors could keep the suspects locked up on lesser charges.

As the city awaits further legal developments, community activist Leia Schenk, who works with three of the families who lost loved ones, said that despite the criminal history of some who appear to be involved, she said she does not didn’t believe in the focus should be on the gangs, but on the victims.

“Right now, I’m so focused on sustaining the humanity of the lives behind these people,” she said. “Yes, gangs are a problem, but whether it was gang-related or not…it was sons, daughters. Many of these people had children.




Los Angeles Times

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