The calls kept coming in to dispatchers, to detectives, and to community members working to curb Sacramento’s violence problem.
In a 51-hour period beginning Friday night and ending just before the clock closed out a bloody weekend Sunday, the total number of shooting victims in Sacramento County topped out at 18. Three of them did not survive.
All told, law enforcement officers raced to 11 shootings spread primarily throughout the southern portion of Sacramento city and the unincorporated county. As of Monday evening, their investigations had not revealed any connections or patterns, save for one commonality: Nearly all of them were drive-by shootings.
“That’s the only common denominator,” said Sacramento County sheriff’s Sgt. Lisa Bowman.
The surge of violence in such a short period of time is unusual for Sacramento, and the casualties did not go unnoticed.
“It’s probably the biggest weekend we’ve had since 2010,” said DeAngelo Mack, coordinator of the Sacramento Violence Intervention Program based out of Kaiser Permanente Medical Center, South Sacramento. “My initial feeling was overwhelmed. It hasn’t been this busy in a long time.”
The first shooting call came in about 8:30 p.m. Friday, when a light-colored sedan drove by a home on Thurman Way, leaving three shooting victims in its wake. Nearly three hours later, another three victims suffered gunshot wounds when an unknown gunman unloaded multiple rounds into a garage where family members had gathered on Rock Creek Way, near Lemon Hill Avenue and the 65th Street Expressway. Isac Vang, 24, of Sacramento was pronounced dead in the home’s backyard. Sacramento police are investigating the possibility that the incident was gang-related, said Officer Michele Gigante.
The first of Saturday’s four shootings occurred just after 12:30 a.m., when a 19-year-old woman was found with life-threatening gunshot wounds in the 7200 block of Gloria Drive in the Pocket. Police said the shooting was not random and followed an altercation between the victim and a man known to her. No arrests had been made by Monday evening.
Three hours later, in nearby Greenhaven, a victim in his 20s suffered a gunshot wound to the leg following a robbery attempt in the 6200 block of Greenhaven Drive. Then, about 7:30 p.m., a drive-by near Exposition Boulevard and Heritage Lane left one victim with injuries not believed to be life-threatening.
Three victims were hit with bullets outside an apartment in the 4900 block of Mack Road in a shooting about 10:30 p.m. Investigators suspect that drugs and gangs were involved, Gigante said.
No more calls came in for almost 24 hours. Then, about 7:40 p.m. Saturday, sheriff’s deputies responded to a report of a drive-by shooting outside a Home Depot on Florin Road. Hassan H. Alawsi, 46, of Sacramento was pronounced dead at the scene after being shot at least once by a gunman in a dark-colored sedan, Bowman said.
Within 20 minutes, Sacramento police were responding to a drive-by shooting about five miles away. One male victim was shot while working on his bike on 35th Street, Gigante said.
About 9:30 p.m., police were on 34th Street one mile away, investigating yet another drive-by shooting that left two injured.
Shortly after 10 p.m., deputies responded to calls of a shooting near the 2500 block of Edison Avenue. They arrived to find a man dead at the scene. Investigators have not identified the man and have little information to jump-start their investigation, Bowman said.
The final call in the string of shootings came in just after 11 p.m. Sunday, after a man suffered gunshot wounds in a drive-by shooting near Mack Road and Tangerine Avenue. That shooting could be gang-related, Gigante said.
The frequency of calls undoubtedly was abnormal for Sacramento. But law enforcement and community members concerned about violence said it is a reminder that there is a great deal of violence in the region that doesn’t get any public attention unless it involves death.
“There are shootings into dwellings, there are drive-bys, there’s people waking up to bullets in their windows,” Gigante said. “Those go under the radar but ... I think this cluster in this approximately 48 hours did bring a bit of attention to this.”
Mack, the violence intervention coordinator, said he hopes the weekend’s violence raises awareness about street violence in Sacramento. But he fears the impact will be short-lived.
“You get used to that doing this work – you get used to seeing your community isn’t necessarily the top concern,” Mack said. “Tomorrow it’s going to be another thing – it’s going to be a forgotten story.”