NATIONAL NEWS

Official: Sacramento shooting suspect seen on video with gun

Apr 5, 2022, 8:08 PM | Updated: Jun 13, 2022, 3:36 pm
Police work the scene on the corner of 10th and J street after a shooting that occurred in the earl...
Police work the scene on the corner of 10th and J street after a shooting that occurred in the early morning hours on April 3, 2022 in Sacramento, California. Six people were killed and at least 10 were injured in the mass shooting in downtown Sacramento with no suspects in custody. (Photo by David Odisho/Getty Images)
(Photo by David Odisho/Getty Images)

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — A second suspect arrested Tuesday in connection with the mass shooting that killed six people in Sacramento had posted a live Facebook video of himself brandishing a handgun hours before gunfire erupted, a law enforcement official told The Associated Press.

Smiley Martin, 27, who is the brother of the first suspect taken into custody, was arrested while hospitalized with bullet wounds from the shooting in California’s capital.

Martin was released from prison on probation in February — less than a year after prosecutors implored the state parole board not to release him early from a 10-year sentence, noting convictions for possessing an assault weapon, thefts and beating a girlfriend he encouraged to be a prostitute.

“Martin’s criminal conduct is violent and lengthy,” a Sacramento prosecutor wrote in a letter obtained by AP. “Martin has committed several felony violations and clearly has little regard for human life and the law.”

Authorities are trying to determine whether the weapon seen in the video was used in the shooting, said the official, who was briefed on the investigation but was not authorized to publicly discuss details and spoke to AP on condition of anonymity.

Investigators believe the brothers possessed stolen guns. They are reviewing financial documents, call records and social media messages to determine how and when they procured weapons, the official said. Authorities have searched several locations in connection with the shooting and the firearms investigation.

More than 100 shots were fired early Sunday near the state Capitol, creating a chaotic scene with hundreds of panicked people trying desperately to reach safety. Twelve people were wounded by gunfire, including the Martin brothers.

Dandrae Martin, 26, was arrested Monday as a “related suspect” on charges of assault with a deadly weapon and being a convict carrying a loaded gun. He was not seriously wounded and made a brief appearance Tuesday in Sacramento Superior Court wearing orange jail scrubs.

Smiley Martin will be booked for possession of a firearm by a prohibited person and possession of a machine gun when his condition improves enough for him to be jailed, a police statement said. A stolen handgun found at the crime scene had been converted to a weapon capable of automatic gunfire.

Smiley Martin was taken to the hospital from the crime scene, police said.

“Smiley Martin was quickly identified as a person of interest and has remained under the supervision of an officer at the hospital while his treatment continues,” the statement said.

Detectives and SWAT team members also found a handgun during searches of three area homes.

The shooting happened at about 2 a.m. Sunday as bars were closing and patrons filled the streets. The three women and three men killed included a father of four, a young woman who wanted to be a social worker, a man described as the life of the party, and a woman who lived on the streets nearby and was looking for housing.

Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg read the names of the dead during a vigil Monday evening attended by grieving relatives, friends and community members.

“We gather here to remember the victims and to commit ourselves to doing all we can to ending the stain of violence, not only in our community but throughout the state, throughout the country, and throughout the world,” Steinberg said.

The Sacramento County coroner identified the women killed as Johntaya Alexander, 21; Melinda Davis, 57; and Yamile Martinez-Andrade, 21. The three men were Sergio Harris, 38; Joshua Hoye-Lucchesi, 32; and De’vazia Turner, 29.

Police were investigating whether the shooting was connected with a street fight that broke out just before gunfire erupted. Several people could be seen fighting in videos on a street lined with an upscale hotel, nightclubs and bars when gunshots sent people scattering.

Detectives also were trying to determine if a stolen handgun found at the crime scene was connected to the shooting, Police Chief Kathy Lester said. Witnesses answered her plea for help by providing more than 100 videos and photos of evidence.

A 31-year-old man who was seen carrying a handgun immediately after the shooting was arrested Tuesday on a weapons charge, though police said his gun was not believed to be used in the crime.

District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert noted Monday that Dandrae Martin was not arrested on suspicion of homicide but said more arrests were expected.

Dandrae Martin, who was held without bail, was freed from an Arizona prison in 2020 after serving just over 1 1/2 years for violating probation in separate cases involving a felony conviction for aggravated assault in 2016 and a conviction on a marijuana charge in 2018. Court records show he pleaded guilty to punching, kicking and choking a woman in a hotel room when she refused to work for him as a prostitute.

Defense lawyer Linda Parisi said she doesn’t know enough about the case yet and whether she will seek Dandrae Martin’s release will depend on whether prosecutors bring stiffer charges.

“If it turns out that the evidence demonstrates that this was mere presence at a scene that certainly argues more for a release,” Parisi said. “If it shows some more aggressive conduct then it would argue against it. But we don’t know that yet.”’

The Parole Board rejected Smiley Martin’s release in May, but he was freed on probation in February after serving about half his sentence, due to different credits, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation said.

The DA’s letter was first reported by The Sacramento Bee.

It wasn’t clear if Smiley Martin had an attorney who could speak on his behalf.

Four of those wounded suffered critical injuries, the Sacramento Fire Department has said. At least seven of the victims had been released from hospitals by Monday.

At the scene where the chaos erupted, memorials with candles and flowers grew on the same sidewalks where people had run in terror as others lay on the ground writhing in pain.

Politicians decried the shooting, and some Democrats, including President Joe Biden, called for tougher action against gun violence.

California has some of the nation’s toughest restrictions on firearms, requiring background checks to buy guns and ammunition, limiting magazines to 10 bullets, and banning firearms that fall into its definition of assault weapons.

But state lawmakers plan to go further. A bill getting its first hearing Tuesday would allow citizens to sue those who possess illegal weapons, a measure patterned after a controversial Texas bill aimed at abortions.

Other proposed California legislation this year would make it easier for people to sue gun companies and target unregistered “ghost guns,” firearms made from build-it-yourself kits.

___

Associated Press writers Stefanie Dazio, Brian Melley and Christopher Weber in Los Angeles, Don Thompson in Sacramento, Jacques Billeaud in Phoenix and News Researcher Rhonda Shafner in New York City contributed to this story.

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Official: Sacramento shooting suspect seen on video with gun