Crime - Sacto 911

Her son was found dead with a gunshot wound a decade ago. So she decided to help

It started with three gunshots and a scream.

Those were the sounds that pulled Cynthia Mose, a real estate agent living in Sacramento’s Oak Park neighborhood, to the front window of her home on 40th Street early Friday morning, bringing her face-to-face with the aftermath of a double shooting that left a teen boy dead and a second man in the hospital with serious injuries.

Mose, who moved to the area about six months ago, said she felt compelled to help one of the victims because of the 2007 killing of her own son, whose body was found in a south Sacramento field.

Outside her window, on the opposite side of the street, she saw a person struggling to walk as he fled from the area where Mose heard gunshots, she said. Though she didn’t see any injuries, she knew something was wrong.

Wrapping a blanket around her, she rushed out of the home and toward the man on the street before flagging down arriving officers, whose attention was turned to a second shooting victim.

“If I hadn’t noticed the young man, they wouldn’t have seen (him),” she said. “Even if he did something, even if he was a part of something, maybe he could have said something.”

The Sacramento Police Department learned of the shooting after receiving reports of gunfire and a person laying in the middle of the street near Santa Cruz Way and Broadway at around 12:09 a.m.

A 20-year-old man was found at that location, said Sgt. Vance Chandler, a Sacramento Police department spokesman. On Friday morning, the nearby Oak Park Terrace apartment complex was closed off to the public by police tape as crime scene investigators and detectives worked the scene. A man equipped with cleaning tools scrubbed portions of the sidewalk and street behind the yellow tape.

Wrought iron and chain-link fences surround most of the area’s homes and parts of the sidewalk bear the name of a local street gang written in what was once wet concrete.

The other victim, a 16-year-old boy, was located near 40th Street, a street down from Santa Cruz Way, Chandler said. Both were taken to the hospital, where the teen died later that morning. He was not identified by the Sacramento County Coroner’s Office as of Friday afternoon.

“The homicide team, they took it over,” Chandler said of the case. “At this point they are trying to determine what the relationship is (between the two victims) and what the motive is.”

The 16-year-old is likely the person who Mose saw from the window of her 40th Street home. The three initial gunshots were followed by what sounded like a car revving its engine, more gunfire and another scream, she said.

“He took three steps, turned and looked back,” Mose said of the teen. “He reached for the fence and I guess he couldn’t make it.”

Mose said officers began arriving to the scene a short time after the gunshots were fired, though police initially only saw the shooting victim located on Broadway.

“I said, ‘Hey, there’s another person here around the corner on the sidewalk,’” Mose said. Police then rushed to the teen and performed CPR until paramedics arrived.

Neighbor Juan Rios, who lives on Broadway near 40th Street, said he saw Mose approach police as they attended to the other victim. The 20-year-old was lying on the street near a crosswalk in front of the Oak Park Terrace apartment complex, he said.

Police did not release a description of any potential suspects and had not detained or arrested anyone in connection to the case by early Friday afternoon, Chandler said. Rios described seeing “people running away to the apartment” from a back window of his home after the shooting, though Chandler could not confirm that piece of information.

Officers did conduct an initial canvass of the area following the shooting, he said.

For Mose, Friday’s incident brought back memories of her son, Prince Mills, who was 23 when he died. His body was found off of Hedge Avenue near Elder Creek Road by a passing motorist in January 2007, an archived Sacramento Bee story says.

An autopsy found a gunshot wound to Mills’ chest. He was fully clothed and was not carrying identification when he was found. The homicide was never solved and no arrests were made, Chandler said.

The Sacramento Police Department encourages any witnesses with information regarding this homicide to contact the dispatch center at 916-264-5471 or Sacramento Valley Crime Stoppers at 916-443-4357 or submit an anonymous tip using the free “P3 Tips” smartphone app. Callers can remain anonymous and may be eligible for a reward up to $1,000.

Nashelly Chavez: 916-321-1188, @nashellytweets

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