Family, friends mourn 6 victims of California mass shooting
A father of four. A best friend with a positive personality. A vivacious partygoer. The six people who were killed during a mass shooting in California’s capital city were remembered by their friends and family on Monday as few details were released about the weekend violence.
Dozens of rapid-fire gunshots rang out early Sunday in the crowded streets of California’s capital city, leaving three women and three men dead and 12 people wounded.
Investigators were searching for at least two shooters who were responsible for the violence on the outskirts of Sacramento’s main entertainment district that occurred as bars and nightclubs were closing. On Monday morning, small memorials with candles, balloons and flowers had been placed near the crime scene.
Few details have been made public as police seek to piece together the incident and implore witnesses to come forward with tips and videos.
The Sacramento County coroner released the identities of the six people killed. They were Johntaya Alexander, 21; Melinda Davis, 57; Yamile Martinez-Andrade, 21; Sergio Harris, 38; Joshua Hoye-Lucchesi, 32; and De’vazia Turner, 29.
Alexander was just shy of turning 22 when she was killed, her father told the Los Angeles Times. Her birthday was at the end of the month.
She hoped to become a social worker who worked with children and was a doting aunt to her nieces and nephews, John Alexander told the newspaper.
His daughter’s name was a combination of his own and his older sister’s, he told the Times.
“She was just beginning her life,” he told the newspaper, sobbing. “Stop all this senseless shooting.”
Davis was a “very sassy lady” who lived on the streets of Sacramento near the shooting site, The Sacramento Bee reported.
Shawn Peter, a guide with the Downtown Sacramento Partnership who had known Davis for 15 years, told the newspaper that she had been homeless and lived in the area on and off for a decade.
Officials had helped her find housing before the pandemic began but she had returned to the downtown business district in recent months, Peter said. A small bouquet of purple roses with a note saying “Melinda Rest In Peace” was left on the street in her memory.
“Melinda was a very eccentric individual, a very sassy lady,” he told the newspaper. “This was her world, 24/7.”
Davis was a periodic guest at Maryhouse, a daytime center for women and children experiencing homelessness, from 2016 to 2018, director Shannon Stevens said in an email to The Associated Press. Stevens recalled her as kind but someone who did not do well in crowds. She was seeking housing services at the time.
“This was a space she came to find respite from the trauma of living on the streets of our city,” Sacramento Loaves & Fishes, which runs the Maryhouse program, said in a statement.
Described by family members as the life of the party, Harris was a frequent presence at the London nightclub which is near the shooting scene.
“My son was a very vivacious young man,” his mother, Pamela Harris, told KCRA-TV. “Fun to be around, liked to party, smiling all the time. Don’t bother people. For this to happen is crazy. I’m just to the point right now, I don’t know what to do. I don’t even feel like this is real. I feel like this is a dream.”
His family members congregated at the crime scene Sunday after they hadn’t heard from him for hours. Later that day, Harris was the first victim publicly identified by the coroner.
“This is a sad and terrible act of violence that took the lives of many,” his wife, Leticia Harris, told KCRA-TV. “I want answers so I can have closure for my children.”
Martinez-Andrade was killed in front of her best friend, according to KXTV-TV.
She was described as someone who “brought light to the room,” the station reported, and had a positive outlook.
“There was never a dull moment with her. She has a beautiful heart and a beautiful mind. Everyone misses her so much,” her best friend, who was not named, told KXTV-TV.
Turner had spent his night out with friends at the London nightclub, his father, Frank Turner, told KTXL-TV.
“He was out just having fun with his friends,” Frank Turner told the TV station.
De’vazia Turner lived in Vacaville, about 30 miles (48 kilometers) southwest of the crime scene, but was from Sacramento, his father told KXTV-TV.
“I just want to make sure the world knows that he was loved,” Young said. “My little brother, he was a family dude. … He had love in him.”
A memorial with white and blue balloons, candles and two empty bottles of Hennessy was left a block from the shooting in honor of Joshua Hoye-Lucchesi. On the ground, someone wrote “Josh” in what appeared to be blue paint.
“I love and miss you. Foreva n my heart!” someone wrote in black marker on a white balloon shaped like a star. “Things will never be the same,” read another balloon.
This story has been updated with the correct spelling of De’vazia Turner. It is De’vazia, not Devazia.