Good morning, and welcome to the Essential California newsletter. It’s Tuesday, April 5. I’m Justin Ray.
It is the worst shooting in the United States so far this year.
Authorities believe multiple shooters were responsible for the deaths of six people and the injury of 12 others in Sacramento. The shooting occurred Sunday around 2 am, after a large fight broke out in a popular entertainment district; it isn’t clear if the shooting was related to the skirmish. More than 70 shots were unleashed before the suspects fled the scene.
“We were just trying to take cover, because we couldn’t tell where the shots were coming from at first, because they were coming from two different areas. But the one that really just broke everybody out was the automatic weapons. That’s when everyone was running and pushing,” said one witness, among several who talked to The Times.
Three men and three women were killed: Johntaya Alexander and Yamile Martinez-Andrade, both 21; Devazia Turner, 29; Joshua Hoye-Lucchesi, 32; Sergio Harris, 38; and Melinda Davis, 57. Seven of the 12 who were injured have been released from hospitals.
The shooting took place on and near the city’s K Street mall, within view of the grand white dome of the state Capitol. Although a police source confirmed to The Times that authorities believe a fight prompted the shooting, its motive isn’t clear.
The Times reported that rapid gunfire heard on videos suggested that a semiautomatic weapon may have been used, but a police spokesperson did not offer information on the weapons involved, citing the ongoing investigation.
A suspect has been booked on charges of assault and possession of an illegal firearm, authorities said. In announcing the arrest of Dandre Martin, 26, authorities said they’ve executed several search warrants and recovered a handgun.
At least one other person fired a gun, The Times reported. It was not even certain whether there was more than one crime scene, because one victim was transported from another location a block away.
The investigation involves a “really complex and complicated scene” and “hundreds of pieces of evidence,” including video from a police camera that captured portions of the shooting and videos submitted by the public, according to Sacramento City Police Chief Kathy Lester. On Monday, hundreds of evidence markers remained on the pavement.
There might be other elements that could help authorities piece together what happened. Police spokesman Zachary Eaton said, “We understand there are some social media video out there depicting a fight.”
The city has seen horrific instances of gun violence this year, including an incident in which a father killed his three children, another man supervising their family visit and himself.
“The scale of violence that just happened in our city is first during my 27 years here,” Lester said during a Sunday news conference at police headquarters. “We are shocked and heartbroken by this tragedy. But we are also resolved as an agency to find those responsible and to secure justice for the victims and the families.”
Other coverage of the Sacramento shooting:
• The Times has created an easy-to-read timeline that explains how the shooting unfolded.
• Columnist Anita Chabria explains how the pandemic supercharged easy access to guns.
• Families of Sacramento mass shooting victims grieve: “Why did they do this to my baby?”
• Former Sacramento police chief Daniel Hahn described how the department’s treatment of victims’ families has changed.
And now, here’s what’s happening across California.
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An LA judge ruled that California’s landmark law mandating that corporations diversify their boards with members from certain racial, ethnic or LGBT groups is unconstitutional. The ruling didn’t explain the judge’s reasoning. The measure requires corporate boards of publicly traded companies with a main executive office in California to have a member from an “underrepresented community,” such as LGBT, Black, Latino, Asian, Native American or Pacific Islander. Los Angeles Times
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POLITICS AND GOVERNMENT
Column: Gov. Gavin Newsom didn’t meet with farmworkers on César Chávez Day. One internet cat is irate. Thursday was César Chávez Day, and farmworkers want to know why the governor didn’t meet with them, as they requested. (He was on vacation.) Although Newsom wasn’t there to support them, the workers do have a famous cat on their side. Los Angeles Times
CRIME, COURTS AND POLICING
Questions remain about an Escondido man’s death in police custody. Gilbert Gil was arrested by California Highway Patrol for allegedly being under the influence of a controlled substance. He was later found unresponsive in a holding cell. Gil’s family said he was repeatedly mistaken as someone who was on illegal drugs instead of a man suffering from two serious medical issues: dementia and hyperglycemia, a spike in blood sugar caused by diabetes. The medical examiner’s office declined to answer questions until the autopsy is finalized. San Diego Union-Tribune
The mass shooting in downtown Sacramento has prompted concerns over whether the area is safe to be in. “Obviously, people look at this and say, ‘Oh, my God, how dangerous is downtown?'” Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg said during a news conference Sunday. “Well, we want people to come downtown, and safely.” After the incident, a Kings game and theater performances continued. “I want to encourage our people to come downtown,” Steinberg said. But he added: “Don’t stay out ’til two in the morning.” Sacramento Bee
HEALTH AND THE ENVIRONMENT
The world’s top body of climate scientists said Monday that temperatures on Earth will shoot past a key danger point unless greenhouse gas emissions fall faster than countries have committed. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said the report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change revealed “a litany of broken climate promises” by governments and corporations, accusing them of stoking global warming by clinging to harmful fossil fuels. Meanwhile, climate change is making valley fever worse. The fungal infection that is transmitted in dust — which occurs mostly in Arizona and California’s San Joaquin Valley — is spreading. Los Angeles Times
‘He’s like, there’s a snake in my couch.’ That’s what Alex Trejo, owner of So-Cal Rattlesnake Removal, said when discussing a call he received from a man in Chula Vista. Although these calls aren’t that strange to Trejo, the snake he eventually located did surprise him. “I literally lift the cushion, and there is this giant, 7-foot Vietnamese blue beauty rat snake just coiled up right behind the cushion,” Trejo said. “You’d be more [likely] to find a Rolex sitting on the ground than a snake like this.” WWT
Kanye West has bailed on Coachella, where he was to have headlined both of the music festival’s two weekends later this month, The Times has confirmed. The cancellation leaves the festival with less than two weeks to find another headliner, as West was booked for April 17 and April 24. Travis Scott was to have joined the rapper — now known as Ye — but he won’t perform either. Los Angeles Times
LA Affairs: My dating sidekick is a baby. It’s a problem. “There is a cute barista at the coffee counter, and I would like to take her on a date. I worry that she thinks I am Jack’s father. I would like her to know that I am Jack’s father’s friend, who was figuring things out when the COVID-19 pandemic arrived and now lives in the guest house while he finishes grad school,” writes Adam Zemel. Los Angeles Times
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Los Angeles: Sunny 79 San Diego: Sunny 69 San Francisco: Sunny 66 San Jose: Sunny 74 Fresno: Sunny 80 Sacramento: Sunny 76. Huge leap.
Today’s California memory is from Hedy Buzan Williamson:
Growing up in Laguna Beach in the 1950s meant being in the “Land of Fruits and Nuts” surrounded by accepted eccentrics. The Greater of course, but there were also “movie people.” There was gay tourist culture (and gay friends and neighbors). A woman lived in an oak tree and seemed to live on chocolate. We had Canadian tourists in the winter, cartoonists, import stores. A family squatted at Salt Creek Beach (now the Ritz-Carlton) and raised chickens on the sand. There were surfers, a great bookstore, a playhouse, antique shops. We had the beaches to ourselves; it was paradise.
If you have a memory or story about the Golden State, share it with us. (Please keep your story to 100 words.)
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