At least six people were killed and ten others injured in a shooting in the California capital of Sacramento early Sunday, police said.
A video posted online showed people scuffling in the street and then started running when gunshots were heard. AFP was unable to review the footage and it was not known if there was a direct link, but local police said they were aware of the video.
Police said no arrests had been made and the scene remained “active”.
“It was just horrific,” said community activist Berry Accius, who arrived minutes after the shooting.
“As soon as I came up, you saw a chaotic scene, cops everywhere, victims with blood all over their bodies, people screaming, people crying, people saying, ‘Where’s my brother?’ Moms cry and try to figure out who their kid is,” he told local broadcaster KXTV.
The shooting happened around 2 a.m. downtown, just blocks from the state capital and near where the NBA’s Sacramento Kings play.
The Sacramento Bee newspaper reported that broken glass and police investigative markers were scattered about two blocks.
Crime scene footage showed at least 28 such markers in a small area on the rear of an SUV.
Markers can be used by investigators to locate items of potential interest, such as B. cartridge cases.
The San Francisco Chronicle quoted a woman at the scene as saying she was told her 12-year-old husband was among the dead.
The woman, whose name the newspaper did not give, said a stranger answered her husband’s phone when her daughter called, but that despite being in the police line for several hours, she could not find out what happened.
“It sounds like a lot of innocent people lost their lives tonight,” the Chronicle quoted the woman as saying.
“We didn’t get an answer.”
Sources told the newspaper that gunfire erupted during a riot among people coming out of bars.
Sacramento City Police Chief Kathy Lester told reporters that officers on patrol nearby rushed to the area after hearing gunshots.
“We had a big crowd in the area. We don’t know if it was part of a club or an event,” she said.
Lester said six people died and another 10 were taken to hospital with injuries. No one was held in custody, she said.
Community organizer Accius said eyewitnesses told him it appeared to erupt out of nowhere.
“All of a sudden people were saying like there was trouble on another side, people were having an altercation and then there was gunfire and it wasn’t the normal pop-pop-pop … it was high-powered artillery,” he told the Sacramento bee
City Mayor Darrell Steinberg said it was difficult to find the right words to describe the tragedy.
“The number of dead and injured is hard to pin down,” he said, adding that he was awaiting more information about the incident.
“Increasing gun violence is the scourge of our city, state and nation, and I support all actions to reduce it,” he said.
The mass shooting of victims is the latest in the United States, where firearms are involved in about 40,000 deaths, including suicides, annually, according to the Gun Violence Archive website.
Relaxed gun laws and a constitutional right to bear arms have thwarted repeated attempts to curb the number of guns in circulation, although a majority of Americans advocate greater control.
Three-fourths of all homicides in the US are committed with firearms, and the number of pistols, revolvers and other firearms being sold continues to rise.
According to data compiled by website Small Arms Analytics, more than 23 million guns were sold in 2020 – a record – on top of 20 million in 2021.
This number does not include “ghost” guns, which are sold disassembled, have no serial numbers, and are highly prized in the criminal community.
As of June 2021, 30 percent of American adults say they own at least one gun, according to a Pew poll.