At about 11 Saturday night, Samantha Cunha heard a commotion down the block in her quiet North Natomas neighborhood 2.5 miles northeast of Sleep Train Arena: six pops, then a pause, then two more.
“I woke my husband up and said, ‘I think there’s something happening on our street,’” Cunha said Sunday as she and other neighbors gathered to share information about an apparent drive-by shooting that left a 10-year-old girl wounded and a home riddled with bullets.
The shooting in the 4900 block of Alterra Way left the girl with non-life-threatening injuries, Sacramento police said, and rattled the nerves of residents of the neighborhood, which is decorated with festive Halloween displays. It’s an area that residents described as a family-friendly and safe enclave that’s just down the street from Cottonwood Park and the Natomas Charter School.
The apparent target of the shooting was a home where the only obvious signs of trouble Sunday were the eight bullet holes in the red front door and the wall nearby. One of the rounds apparently passed into the residence and struck the girl, and police said family members rushing her to a hospital came across a patrol car that summoned an ambulance for her.
No one answered the door at the home Sunday, where a small concrete Buddha statue sat guard outside and a barking dog could be heard inside the house.
Neighbors say the house is a rental occupied by a couple and their three young children, two girls and a boy, who have lived there for about two years. On the front porch next to the Buddha, someone had written “Happy Halloween” in chalk, and the empty driveway was covered in purple, aqua and white chalk drawings and the messages “Hi Mom” and “Hi Dad.”
Several neighbors interviewed along the block said they did not want their names published, but described the neighborhood as an idyllic haven where children ride bicycles and play in the streets, and where every Halloween the streets are filled with trick or treaters and parents introducing themselves to one another.
The street backs up to a vacant farm field on the east side, and residents say it is the type of place they moved to in order to escape dicier streets in Sacramento.
Some who were away at the time of the shooting said they arrived home early Sunday to find the block cordoned off with police tape and evidence markers dotting the pavement, apparently pinpointing shell casings.
Cunha said she was inside her home at the far end of the block from the shooting when she heard the shots, and grabbed her iPad to fire up an app that allows users to listen to police scanners. She said she did not hear a vehicle at the time of the shooting, and residents traded information through the day Sunday speculating about whether the shooting was committed by someone on foot.
“Nothing happens on our street,” she said. “It’s such a family-friendly street, so this is surprising.”
Call The Bee’s Sam Stanton, (916) 321-1091.