A father fatally shot his three daughters and one other person before killing himself in a Sacramento church Monday, law enforcement officials said.
The girls were 9, 10 and 13, authorities told reporters. The fourth victim was supervising the 39-year-old father’s visit with his daughters, Sacramento County Sheriff Scott Jones confirmed. It is unclear whether the person was a social worker or affiliated with the church.
“This is, as far as I can see at this point, a domestic-violence-related sort of incident,” Sgt. Rod Grassmann, a spokesman for the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Office, said at a news conference.
Just after 5 p.m., an employee for the church in Sacramento was upstairs when they heard one gunshot followed by several more, Grassmann said. The worker quickly exited the building and called 911 at 5:07 p.m. By the time first responders arrived on the scene, all four victims and the gunman were dead in a room in the main sanctuary, authorities said.
The mother of the children, who was out of town at the time of the shooting, had a restraining order against the father, the sheriff told reporters.
“It’s very upsetting,” Jones said. “You know, there’s a lot of ways that this could have unfolded, and obviously it’s a tragedy no matter how it unfolds. There is just no explanation of how these violence and domestic relationships go bad.”
Leaders for the nondenominational church did not respond to The Washington Post’s requests for comment.
Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg called the incident an “unspeakable tragedy” that “happens too often.”
“[T]onight it happened in our backyard,” he tweeted. “First thoughts are with the victims and their families. Same to the first responders who have to confront such a horrible scene.”
California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) said he is communicating with the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Office.
“Another senseless act of gun violence in America — this time in our backyard,” Newsom wrote in a statement on Twitter. “In a church with kids inside. Absolutely devastating. Our hearts go out to the victims, their families and their communities.”
(Jaclyn Peiser, Washington Post)