A California father who had a restraining order against him and was on a supervised visit with his kids at a church in Sacramento, has shot dead four people including his three young daughters aged nine, ten and 13.
The 39-year-old father who has yet to be named then shot the children’s chaperone dead before turning the gun on himself at the church on the outskirts of the California state capital, in the Arden Mall area of the city.
Sheriff Scott Jones said the shooter was estranged from the children’s mother, who had a restraining order against him.
The incident started at around 5:10pm on Monday when officers were called to the ‘The Church in Sacramento’, reported ABC10.
The shooting happened in the main room of the small church. Emergency services were alerted after an employee at the church who was upstairs heard gunshots and called 911.
Residents watch police activity following a shooting at a church in Sacramento, California
Police investigate a shooting at the Church in Sacramento near Wyda Way and Ethan Way in Sacramento on Monday
People look over a fence towards a church following a shooting in Sacramento
Police block off Ethan Way and Wyda Way after a shooting at the Church in Sacramento
A father killed four, shooting three of his children before killing himself at the church in Sacramento
A sheriff’s deputy puts up crime scene tape following the shooting
A police officer can be seen putting up crime scene tape following the shooting on Monday
Multiple people were killed in a shooting on Monday at a church near the California capital of Sacramento, CBS13 television reported, citing the Sacramento Metro Fire department
Sgt. Rod Grassman from the city’s police force confirmed the victims included the father’s own children, all under 15 years of age. He did not know their genders
Sacramento County Sheriff’s deputies stand by police tape that blocks the street leading to a church where a shooting occurred with multiple victims, in Sacramento on Monday
Law enforcement vehicles from several agencies block a street near the scene of a shooting
Neighbors Samantha Sanchez and Nick Martinez watch as police officers investigate the scene of a shooting at The Church in Sacramento
Police officers investigate the scene of a shooting at the church
Sgt. Rod Grassman from the city’s police force also confirmed there was a fifth person killed, however it is unclear if that person was also a family member
A huge police presence built up outside the church where the shooting took place
The shooting took place at a church on the outskirts of the California state capital in the Arden Mall area of the city (pictured, file photo)
‘Another senseless act of gun violence in America – this time in our backyard. In a church with kids inside. Absolutely devastating,’ said California Governor Gavin Newsom said in a statement
The Mayor of Sacramento, Darrell Steinberg, also tweeted about the tragedy on Monday night
Grassman said he did not know if the family members belonged to the the church, which sits on a mostly residential block near a commercial area east of downtown Sacramento, CBS13 reported.
It wasn’t immediately known how many people were at the church or if there were any services or activities at the time of the shooting. The church is known to hold Bible study classes for children and teens, although none were scheduled for Monday.
So far, a possible motive for the shooting had not been released but the sheriff’s office said it was a case of domestic violence.
‘Another senseless act of gun violence in America – this time in our backyard. In a church with kids inside. Absolutely devastating,’ said California Governor Gavin Newsom said in a statement.
‘Our hearts go out to the victims, their families and their communities. We are working closely with local law enforcement.
‘Our thoughts are with the community, parishioners, and all those impacted by this horrific event.’
The Mayor of Sacramento, Darrell Steinberg, also tweeted about the incident on Monday night.
‘This is an unspeakable tragedy. It happens too often, and tonight it happened in our backyard. First thoughts are with the victims and their families. Same to the first responders who have to confront such a horrible scene.’
Law enforcement were quickly on the scene but unfortunately unable to prevent the shooting
A large police presence could be seen gathered outside the church in the Arden-Arcade area
Police vehicle could be seen positioned outside of the church early on Monday evening
As darkness fell, the emergency services and a SWAT team were still on site
Law enforcement vehicles from several agencies block a street near the scene of the shooting
Alongside emergency services, a SWAT team were also called as officers tried to secure the scene reported ABC10.
Video images from the scene showed a heavy police presence outside the church in the Arden-Arcade area outside the city limits.
‘Please be aware and on the look out. Local law enforcement are responding to a mass casualty shooting event in the county at a church on 2041 Wyda way,’ Sacramento Mayor Pro Tem Eric Guerra said on Twitter. ‘Please be alert while in the area as local law enforcement responds.’
The Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department told the public to avoid the area because of the large police presence, and said it was establishing a command post in the area.
A Sacramento Police officer stands behind police tape blocking the street near the church
Police tape blocks the street near the scene of the shooting in Sacramento on Monday
Police tape can be seen stretched across the street close to where the shooting occurred
Police were called to the scene from 5:30pm after an emergency call was placed
Police officers stand near the scene of a shooting at a church in Sacramento, California
Police officers escort people following the shooting
Nearby resident were escorted to their homes by police
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