Gang violence, 5 gunmen fueled deadly downtown Sacramento shooting that left 6 slain

A weekend shootout that left six dead and 12 injured in downtown Sacramento, California, was fueled by gang violence and involved at least five gunmen spraying bullets into a large crowd, police said Wednesday.

"While we cannot at this time elaborate on the precise gang affiliation of individuals involved, gangs and gang violence are inseparable from the events that drove these shootings," police said in a statement.

The Sacramento Police Department said the number of suspects may increase as the investigation progresses.

A large fight broke out before the shooting around 2 a.m. Sunday outside the city's entertainment district, where bar patrons filled the streets. More than 100 rounds were fired as people scattered and dove for cover, video of the incident shows.

WHAT WE KNOW:Third arrest made in connection to Sacramento mass shooting that left 6 dead

"This tragedy downtown is a very public example of what families in many of our neighborhoods know too well," Police Chief Kathy Lester said. "The suffering inflicted by gang violence does not limit itself to gang members. It spills over to claim and shatter innocent lives and harm our entire community."

The three women and three men killed were Johntaya Alexander, 21; Melinda Davis, 57; Yamile Martinez-Andrade, 21; Sergio Harris, 38; Joshua Hoye-Lucchesi, 32; and De'vazia Turner, 29.

Three suspects have been identified in connection with the shooting, though nobody has been charged with murder.

Smiley Martin, 27, one of the injured people found at the scene, allegedly took a live video on Facebook hours before the shooting and brandished a handgun. He faces charges of possession of a firearm by a prohibited person and possession of a machine gun. His brother, Dandrae, 26, was also among the wounded and taken into custody Monday. He faces charges of assault with a deadly weapon and illegal firearms possession.

Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg said Wednesday he had “serious questions” about why the brothers “were out on the streets.” They have criminal histories that include violent crimes. 

A year ago, prosecutors argued that Smiley Martin should remain in prison when he was up for early release from a 10-year sentence for domestic violence, according to documents obtained by The Associated Press. A Sacramento prosecutor wrote he had "little regard for human life and the law."

“If he is released early, he will continue to break the law," the prosecutor wrote in a letter.

Dandrae Martin was freed in 2020 after serving more than 1½ 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.

Daviyonne Dawson, 31, was arrested Monday and faces a charge of being a prohibited person in possession of a firearm. He was allegedly caught on camera wielding a firearm after the shooting, but police said they did not believe the weapon was used during the shootout.

Investigators found a stolen handgun at the scene that had been modified into an automatic weapon, police said. Another handgun was recovered during searches of three homes in the area.

The Sacramento Police Department said it is piecing together information from the public that includes nearly 200 videos, photos and other evidence.

Contributing: N'dea Yancey-Bragg, John Bacon, Celina Tebor and Christal Hayes, USA TODAY; The Associated Press