Q: A few years ago, I stumbled across Sacramento Bee archives about a mass shooting in Fremont Park in 1985. Eric Bright was the shooter. He was found not guilty by reason of insanity and was committed to a state mental hospital. In addition to knowing if Bright is still alive and confined, I think a recounting of this crime might be interesting to readers.
A: Eric Paul Bright admitted firing a shotgun into a crowd of people in Sacramento’s John C. Fremont Park on May 6, 1985, after he got into an argument with a man in the park who, Bright said, threatened to kill him.
According to stories in The Sacramento Bee, Bright, then 33, lived in an apartment near the park at 16th and Q streets. He fired into a noontime crowd, sending people running for cover. Nine people were wounded. Four were taken to UC Davis Medical Center for treatment and released, including a 2-year-old girl who had pellet wounds on her face. Officials said none of the victims was seriously injured.
Bright reportedly had an extensive history of mental problems and had been treated at various institutions in Northern California.
He was charged with six counts of assault with a deadly weapon and found not guilty by reason of insanity. He was committed to Atascadero State Hospital for 12 years, or until he was deemed sane.
According to Sacramento Superior Court online records, a petition to extend his commitment was most recently granted in 2012.
Call The Bee’s Cathy Locke, (916) 321-5287.