Two young men were gunned down in broad daylight Thursday in the parking lot of a drab commercial strip on Fruitridge Road, sparking a manhunt that led a SWAT team to a nearby neighborhood and shut down one of south Sacramento’s busiest thoroughfares for hours.
The bodies of the two victims, believed to be in their late teens or early 20s, lay covered in black tarps for hours. The double homicide was reported just after noon in the 5200 block of Fruitridge Road, near Stockton Boulevard.
More than a dozen yellow markers showed where investigators had found shell casings and other evidence in the a parking lot of the commercial strip and along Fruitridge Road.
Witnesses reported hearing two volleys of gunfire.
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The first victim was shot outside the South Area Market and the second was shot in an adjacent parking lot, said sheriff’s spokesman Sgt. Tony Turnbull. The bodies were found just a few feet apart.
Turnbull said the suspects fled the scene heading east on Fruitridge Road in a light-colored sport utility vehicle.
“It’s extremely brazen,” Turnbull said. “There are obviously a lot of witnesses. The suspects obviously didn’t mind the time of the day.”
Soon after the shooting, SWAT officers surrounded a residence on Rotella Drive, about two miles from the homicide scene, said Officer Linda Matthew, a Sacramento police spokeswoman.
Officers were following up on a lead that may have been related to the shooting, she said. Police did not know whether anyone was inside the home, but neighboring residents were told to stay indoors. A police helicopter hovered over the nearby Lemon Hill Avenue.
Large groups of mourners arrived on Fruitridge Road soon after the killings. Twice, groups of young people were separated by sheriff’s deputies and other adults after yelling at one another. Some mourners chased onlookers who took photographs of the scene with cellphone cameras.
Friends and family members of the victims brought bouquets of flowers to a parking lot across Fruitridge Road from the crime scene as they watched detectives canvass the area. Mourners declined requests to be interviewed.