A man who Sacramento Police Department investigators believe was a bystander to a dispute was fatally shot in a midtown parking lot early Saturday.
Police received reports that a man had been shot at 12:35 a.m. in a private parking lot at 28th and J streets.
Officers arriving on the scene found the man with a gunshot wound. He was transported to a local hospital and pronounced dead. The Sacramento County Coroner's Office has not yet released his identity, but police officials said he was in his 30s.
Based on the Police Department's preliminary investigation, spokesman Sgt. Andrew Pettit said that it appeared there had been a violent altercation between two groups nearby, and a stray round hit the victim.
The area is a popular destination for revelers that includes the nightclub Harlow's, the Blue Cue billiards parlor, and the Centro and Red Rabbit restaurants.
The fatal shooting alarmed Sonny Mayugba, part-owner of Red Rabbit.
"It could have been any one of us. It could have been my partner. It could have been one my servers," said Mayugba, who added that he and his staff often leave during a busy night to buy more food.
"It's terrible utterly tragic," he said.
Owners of establishments near 28th and J streets said they did not think any of their patrons were involved in the dispute.
"It wasn't any of our customers," Mayugba said. "All of our places are very alert and very aware of what's going on."
"I didn't hear of any fights," said Blue Cue owner Cody Dellabitta, explaining that the doormen at the establishments on the block would have known if an argument inside had gotten out of control.
"Our block is very safe for people," he said. "If I felt like they weren't, we would take care of that situation."
The businesses pay for private security through their own district and through the Midtown Business Association, but residents said they thought the city needed to do more to secure the area.
"We need more police resources," said George Raya, who lives less than a block from the parking lot. When he heard gunshots Saturday morning, he left his apartment to join the crowd that was forming in the parking lot, and watched as patrol cars arrived.
Raya is a member of the board of the Marshall School/ New Era Park Neighborhood Association, which issued a press release Saturday afternoon asking Mayor Kevin Johnson to take action to strengthen public safety in the area.
"Maybe some good will come out of this, but it's unfortunate that it takes something this extreme to get a response," Raya said.