Police surrounded a North Sacramento residence for nine hours Tuesday morning after finding a dead man in a nearby alleyway. However, when officers entered the building, they found no one inside, and no arrests have been made.
The Sacramento Police Department received a report that shots had been fired in the 2100 block of Del Paso Boulevard about 1:15 a.m., but officers responding to the call did not find anything suspicious, police said.
About an hour later, a caller said a man was "down and out" in an alley behind a hardware store in the same area, according to department spokesman Sgt. Andrew Pettit.
The police found a 19-year-old man's body in the alley between Cook's Ace Hardware at 2125 Del Paso Blvd. and the North Sacramento United Methodist Church on El Camino Avenue. Detectives later determined that the man, whose identity has not been released, had died of gunshot wounds to his chest.
Witnesses told police they had seen people running into a triplex in the 600 block of El Camino Avenue, across the street from the church. Officers surrounded the building and ordered the occupants into the street around 3 a.m., police said. Several people exited the triplex throughout the morning, and police detained them for questioning.
The last two people to leave the building came outside at 9:30 a.m., but the occupants told police that there was another man, whom they called "Heavy," hiding in a closet inside. Throughout the morning, police called over the loudspeaker for "Heavy" to leave the residence. They also used a loud, high-pitched siren, called a long-range audio device, to encourage anyone inside to leave.
Police received no response, so special weapons and tactics officers detonated two rounds of tear gas canisters before going inside with a police dog around 11 a.m.
They found the building empty.
Pettit said it was possible that the occupants had simply meant to distract police by telling them there was another person in the triplex. "We don't know if that was just a red herring, or if he may have escaped," Pettit said.
An hour later, police opened streets in the area to traffic, keeping part of the 600 block of El Camino Avenue and the alley behind the hardware store closed as investigators searched for clues.
The hardware store was closed Tuesday, but will be open today during its regular hours, said manager Cindy Duarte.