Official: Sacramento shooting suspect seen on video with gun
A second suspect arrested Tuesday in connection with the mass shooting that killed six people in Sacramento had posted a live Facebook video of himself brandishing a handgun hours before gunfire erupted, a law enforcement official told The Associated Press.
Smiley Martin, 27, who is the brother of the first suspect taken into custody, was arrested while hospitalized with bullet wounds from the shooting in California’s capital.
Martin was released from prison on probation in February after serving his term for punching a girlfriend, dragging her from her home by her hair and whipping her with a belt, prosecutors said.
Martin may have been released sooner, but a Parole Board rejected his bid for early release in May after prosecutors said the 2017 felony assault along with convictions for possessing an assault weapon and thefts posed “a significant, unreasonable risk of safety to the community.”
“Martin’s criminal conduct is violent and lengthy,” a Sacramento prosecutor wrote in a letter obtained by AP. “Martin has committed several felony violations and clearly has little regard for human life and the law.”
Authorities are trying to determine whether the weapon seen in the video was used in the shooting, said the official, who was briefed on the investigation but was not authorized to publicly discuss details and spoke to AP on condition of anonymity.
Investigators believe the brothers possessed stolen guns. They are reviewing financial documents, call records and social media messages to determine how and when they procured weapons, the official said. Authorities have searched several locations in connection with the shooting and the firearms investigation.
More than 100 shots were fired in rapid-fire succession early Sunday near the state Capitol, creating a chaotic scene with hundreds of panicked people trying desperately to reach safety. Twelve people were wounded by gunfire, including the Martin brothers.
Dandrae Martin, 26, was arrested Monday as a “related suspect” on charges of assault with a deadly weapon and being a convict carrying a loaded gun. He was not seriously wounded and made a brief appearance Tuesday in Sacramento Superior Court wearing orange jail scrubs.
Smiley Martin will be booked for possession of a firearm by a prohibited person and possession of a machine gun when his condition improves enough for him to be jailed, a police statement said.
Police were trying to determine if a stolen handgun found at the crime scene that had been converted to a weapon capable of automatic gunfire was used in the massacre.
Smiley Martin was taken to the hospital from the crime scene, police said.
“Martin was quickly identified as a person of interest and has remained under the supervision of an officer at the hospital while his treatment continues,” the statement said.
Detectives and SWAT team members also found a handgun during searches of three area homes.
The shooting happened at about 2 a.m. Sunday as bars were closing and patrons filled the streets. The three women and three men killed included a father of four, a young woman who wanted to be a social worker, a man described as the life of the party, and a homeless woman.
The Sacramento County coroner identified the women killed as Johntaya Alexander, 21; Melinda Davis, 57; and Yamile Martinez-Andrade, 21. The three men were Sergio Harris, 38; Joshua Hoye-Lucchesi, 32; and De’vazia Turner, 29.
Police were investigating whether the shooting was connected with a street fight that broke out just before gunfire erupted. Several people could be seen fighting in videos on a street lined with an upscale hotel, nightclubs and bars when gunshots sent people scattering.
Officers were reviewing more than 100 videos and photos sent by witnesses for possible use as evidence, police said.
A 31-year-old man who was seen carrying a handgun immediately after the shooting was arrested Tuesday on a weapons charge, though police said his gun was not believed to be used in the crime.
District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert noted Monday that Dandrae Martin was not arrested on suspicion of homicide but said more arrests were expected.
Dandrae Martin, who was held without bail, was freed from an Arizona prison in 2020 after serving just over 1 1/2 years for violating probation in separate cases involving a felony conviction for aggravated assault in 2016 and a conviction on a marijuana charge in 2018. Court records show he pleaded guilty to punching, kicking and choking a woman in a hotel room when she refused to work for him as a prostitute.
Defense lawyer Linda Parisi said she doesn’t know enough about the case yet and whether she will seek Dandrae Martin’s release will depend on whether prosecutors bring stiffer charges.
“If it turns out that the evidence demonstrates that this was mere presence at a scene that certainly argues more for a release,” Parisi said. “If it shows some more aggressive conduct then it would argue against it. But we don’t know that yet.”
It wasn’t clear if Smiley Martin had an attorney who could speak on his behalf.
Four of those wounded suffered critical injuries, the Sacramento Fire Department has said. At least seven of the victims had been released from hospitals by Monday.
At the scene where the chaos erupted, memorials with candles and flowers grew on the same sidewalks where people had run in terror as others lay on the ground writhing in pain.
Politicians decried the shooting, and some Democrats, including President Joe Biden, called for tougher action against gun violence.
California has some of the nation’s toughest restrictions on firearms, requiring background checks to buy guns and ammunition, limiting magazines to 10 bullets, and banning firearms that fall into its definition of assault weapons.
But state lawmakers plan to go further. A bill received its first hearing Tuesday would allow citizens to sue those who possess illegal weapons, a measure patterned after a controversial Texas bill aimed at abortions.
Other proposed California legislation this year would make it easier for people to sue gun companies and target unregistered “ghost guns,” firearms made from build-it-yourself kits.
Associated Press writers Stefanie Dazio, Brian Melley and Christopher Weber in Los Angeles, Don Thompson in Sacramento, Jacques Billeaud in Phoenix and News Researcher Rhonda Shafner in New York City contributed to this story.