Deadly week strikes capital

Six lives are claimed by violence; arrests have been made in two of the attacks.

06/07/2007 5:04 PM

06/07/2007 5:06 PM

Originally published 1/4/2007

These are the faces of a week's worth of violent news in the Sacramento area:

* On a crisp Saturday afternoon, 26-year-old Anthony Fuller was shot and killed outside a liquor store in Foothill Farms, his last move a failed attempt to avoid a pack of gang members.

* Danny Hickman, also 26, was sprayed with bullets outside a New Year's Eve party, an argument over a parking spot leading to his demise. He hung on for 40 hours before dying.

* Christopher Hayhurst, 45, hung on for more than two weeks after getting into a fight with two men outside his Citrus Heights home. His death Wednesday morning has led to a homicide investigation.

* Sacramento County sheriff's investigators said they did not need long to close the case of two women found beaten to death in a south Sacramento home Tuesday morning. The suspect, who fathered a child with one of the victims, called to report the deaths and was on the scene when deputies arrived, according to authorities.

* And in another alleged case of domestic violence, police said Danny Poplin stabbed his girlfriend inside a Marconi Avenue apartment on Sunday, killing her fetus. Poplin is now facing a charge of fetal murder.

Six people have been killed in Sacramento County since Saturday, a streak of violence that has left three law enforcement agencies with fresh homicide investigations. Arrests have been made in two of the cases.

The latest names to be added to the list of victims were Hickman and Hayhurst, who died within a few hours of one another Tuesday night and Wednesday morning, authorities said.

According to Sacramento police, Hickman and his girlfriend were in a car parked in Del Paso Heights near the dead end of Stephanie Avenue around 2:30 a.m. Monday. Revelers at a nearby party grew upset that Hickman had decided to park near their home, and an argument erupted, said police Sgt. Terrell Marshall, a department spokesman.

The argument escalated, and Hickman was shot several times, Marshall said.

When police arrived, they found the victim lying in the street and at least 30 partygoers still on the scene, though no one would provide a description of the shooter.

Hickman died at UC Davis Medical Center at 8:30 p.m. Tuesday.

Just over six hours later, Hayhurst died at Mercy San Juan Medical Center, succumbing to injuries from a Dec. 15 fight with two men outside his home in the 8300 block of Zancanaro Court, police said.

Citrus Heights police detectives believe the suspects may have been gardeners or day workers operating in the neighborhood and are trying to determine who was the aggressor in the fatal midday brawl, said Citrus Heights Police Lt. Jeff Mackanin.

In Fuller's case, it appears he was trying to avoid a confrontation Saturday afternoon when he ducked into Ernie's Liquor on Hillsdale Boulevard. Deputies said Fuller, dressed in red and walking with his girlfriend, went into the store when he saw a group of men dressed in blue -- a group he may have suspected were gang members.

Moments later Fuller was in a fight inside the store, the fight spilling out into the parking lot and ending with Fuller being shot, a sheriff's spokesman said.

Sheriff's deputies were called to another homicide scene Sunday, when authorities said Poplin, 29, stabbed his girlfriend in the stomach. The woman survived, but her 27-week-old fetus did not.

Poplin, undergoing psychiatric evaluation, will be charged with fetal murder, prosecutors said Wednesday.

Jose Barrera-Rodriguez will appear in court today to face two counts of homicide, authorities said. He was arrested in connection with the deaths of a 19-year-old woman and her 49-year-old mother who were found beaten to death in a south Sacramento home Tuesday morning.

Sheriff's detectives are still trying to determine what led to the double homicide.

Barrera-Rodriguez fathered a child with the younger woman but had apparently been asked to leave the home in August, police said.

The string of deaths marked the end to a relatively violent 2006 in the region.

There were 59 homicides in the city of Sacramento in 2006, the highest total since 1994.

The Sacramento County Sheriff's Department responded to 44 homicides for the year, down 24 percent from 2005 but the second-highest total since 1997, records show.


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