Sac State student killed in accidental off-campus pellet gun shooting, police audio indicates

Sacramento State student dies after pellet gun shooting

A Sacramento State student died from an off-campus pellet gun shooting on April 12, 2019.
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A Sacramento State student died from an off-campus pellet gun shooting on April 12, 2019.

A Sacramento State student died from a pellet gun shooting at an off-campus gathering early Friday, university President Robert Nelsen said in an email to students and faculty. Police audio indicated the shooting was accidental.

The student, William Molina, 21, was a graduate of Folsom High School and was set to graduate from Sacramento State in May, Nelsen said. Molina was a business major and a member of the Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity.

The Sacramento Police Department responded to a call just after 3 a.m. Friday at Lycoming Court in the College/Glen neighborhood after it was notified by the Sacramento Fire Department about a medical aid call, a Sacramento Police Department news release said.

Radio communications obtained through Broadcastify indicate fire personnel responded to a report of a 21-year-old man who passed out.

Officers arrived on the scene and found that Molina had been shot with a pellet gun, the news release said. Fire personnel transported Molina to UC Davis Medical Center, where he died despite life-saving efforts, according to police and radio communications.

Lycoming Court is about two miles from the Sacramento State campus. Homicide detectives and crime scene investigators were called in to investigate, the news release said. The investigators believed the incident was isolated and that there was no threat to the community, according to the release.

Sacramento Police Department spokesman Sgt. Vance Chandler said “investigators are investigating what led up to the incident. No arrests have been made.”

“We are not disclosing the location of the injury at this time,” he said.

Sacramento Police Department spokeswoman Officer Linda Matthew said investigators had interviewed attendants at the gathering, but were unable at this time to release whether the incident was accidental or if a suspect was involved.

Radio communications, however, indicate an officer at the scene said Molina was shot “accidentally” by a friend.

The incident occurred during an “off-campus gathering,” according to a news release from Sacramento State. Investigators were not yet able to say whether the gathering was a party, Sacramento State spokesman Brian Blomster said, but a neighbor reported that she didn’t hear anything until the Fire Department arrived on the scene.

The neighbor, who requested anonymity because she feared retaliation, said the off-campus house where the incident occurred was occupied by Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity members. Large Greek letters next to a backyard pool are visible over the fence, and the neighbor said the residents often hosted noisy parties and featured signs advertising for rush.

The neighbor said community members have repeatedly communicated with the university regarding problems with the unofficial fraternity house. Blomster confirmed at least one instance of this, which occurred in 2017, but said because the house is a private residence, the university couldn’t do anything about the complaints.

Pi Kappa Alpha was put on probation in February 2018, according to previous reporting by The Sacramento Bee, after a Snapchat video showed a fraternity pledge vomiting from intoxication and appearing to have a seizure.

After members of Pi Kappa Alpha violated their probation, Sacramento State removed its recognition of the fraternity. The university reinstated recognition of Pi Kappa Alpha in January 2019, but the fraternity will be on probation until May 31, The State Hornet reported.

Nelson said in his email that grief counseling services will be available to those who need support and that the university is working on arrangements to honor Molina’s memory.

Witnesses are encouraged to call the dispatch center at (916) 808-5471 or Sacramento Valley Crime Stoppers at (916) 443-4357, Sacramento police said. Anonymous tips may be submitted using the free “P3 Tips” app, the press release said.

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