When Sacramento homicide detectives arrived outside the Library nightclub in the pre-dawn hours of May 2, the scene was almost overwhelming.
Gathered outside the nightclub was a crowd of about 100 people -- very few of whom would talk to the police at first -- and nearby sat the car in which a 20-year-old college sophomore had been sitting when she was shot in the neck.
That young woman, a gifted and popular California State University, Sacramento, student named Kebret Tekle, died 16 hours after she was struck by a stray bullet that police said had been intended for someone else.
In the days that followed, detectives interviewed more than three dozen witnesses who had been at the Library that night, slowly compiling a profile of who had fired the fatal shot.
The process gained momentum Wednesday when someone gang detectives arrested in an unrelated case came up with a first name. Next came details about a suspect's car. By late Thursday, police said they had their suspect.
That is how David Allen Falls, an unemployed 23-year-old south Sacramento man on probation, wound up in Sacramento County jail early Friday, booked on suspicion of homicide.
Falls has gang ties and was aiming at rival gang members driving away from the Library down Folsom Boulevard when he shot Tekle from more than 50 yards away, police said.
"It was just a stray bullet and it hit the most innocent person," said Sacramento Police Detective Pat Higgins.
Higgins was part of a large team of investigators that worked "a painstaking investigation" the past nine days.
He said police still are looking into whether others were involved in the shooting, but are confident they have the gunman.
The arrest, Higgins said, was "very satisfying." Tekle was a bright student with a promising future, a young woman deeply involved in her service-oriented sorority at Sacramento State.
"Everybody," Higgins said, "was upset about this poor girl getting killed."
Police said the 1 a.m. shooting stemmed from a fight that started on the dance floor inside the Library and moved outside. Higgins said it "was just a rival gang type of situation."
In many ways, Tekle's death mirrored the March 23 killing of Jelisa Office, a 16-year-old high school honor student, detectives said.
Both young women were shot by stray bullets, fired from about 50 yards away in gang-related disputes, police said.
In both cases, dozens of people were nearby when the shots were fired, and while many initially were reluctant to talk, some eventually provided police with the vital information they needed, detectives said.
A 16-year-old boy has been charged as an adult in connection with Office's death.
"There was absolutely no reason for either of these girls to get shot," said Detective Jason Kirtlan, who along with Higgins worked both cases. "It could have been anyone and they happened to hit these girls."
After days of interviewing and re-interviewing witnesses to Tekle's shooting, "the frustration level was rising because we knew we were so close but we couldn't get a name," Kirtlan said.
Several witnesses could describe the shooter, but no one had more than that.
"Everyone did the right thing and told the truth," Kirtlan said. "They didn't know (the suspect's) name, but they sure knew his face."
Then came the pivotal arrest on Wednesday. And once detectives had a name, gang officers "knew all the players involved," Higgins said.
"It was hours and hours of interviews without any breaks," the veteran investigator said. "Everyone just kept plugging away and then we got the break we needed and it unfolded rapidly."
Falls was arrested near the corner of Florin Road and Franklin Boulevard about 7 p.m. Thursday, arrest records show. He is scheduled to appear in Sacramento Superior Court on Monday.
While Tekle's friends and family declined comment, Higgins said "they were very happy" that an arrest had been made.
"You want to solve every homicide, whether it's a gang member shooting a gun right before he gets shot or a case like this," Higgins said. "But when you have innocent victims, you really want to find out who did it for the community."