State Fair

Shots reportedly fired outside State Fair gates on opening night

Ten people were ejected from the State Fair during its opening day Friday and shots were heard outside Cal Expo grounds that evening, Cal Expo Acting Police Chief Joesph Robillard said.

Robillard’s account differs from the information provided in a Sacramento Police Department report, which includes a witness statement specifying that 50 to 60 people were removed from the fair following multiple fights Friday evening.

At approximately 11:30 p.m. Friday, the Sacramento Police Department responded to reports that someone had been shot near the State Fair, police spokeswoman Linda Matthew said.

Officers arrived at Heritage Lane near Exposition Boulevard and spoke to witnesses, who said a member of the expelled group had shot a gun into the air outside the fair and left the scene. Witnesses were otherwise uncooperative, Matthew said, but police believe there were no victims.

State Fair media director Sabrina Washington said incidents that occur inside the State Fair fall under the jurisdiction of the Cal Expo Police Department, not the Sacramento Police Department, and called the witness-provided number in the Sacramento Police Department report “misinformation.”

“This was one of the most peaceful opening nights we’ve had in recent memory,” Robillard said.

Cal Expo police don’t record the identity of guests they ask to leave, Washington said, so they have no way of knowing whether those involved in the altercation on Heritage Lane had come from the fair.

Cal Expo police also reported hearing gunshots but could not find bullet casings or eyewitnesses to the reported shooting, Robillard said. One bystander Cal Expo police spoke to speculated that the noise may have been caused by a passing car, Robillard said.

In June, Cal Expo appointed Robillard its new acting police chief for at least the duration of this year’s fair.

Cal Expo added patrol officers to its department and increased security measures this year after brawls, controversial arrests and racial profiling accusations marred festivities in 2017.

This is also the first year Cal Expo has a direct partnership with the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department, Washington said.

Guests must pass through a metal detector and have their bags checked before being let into the fair.

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