Calif. police fatally shoot armed suspect in warehouse

A suspect fired off shots at a community event attended by hundreds, police said

By Vincent Moleski and Molly Burke
The Sacramento Bee

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — What was meant to be an engaging community event promoting an end to gun violence in a North Sacramento warehouse ended in gunfire and carnage Saturday night, when a police sergeant shot and killed a suspected gunman.

Jacques Houston, the organizer behind an event dubbed "Gunz Down Gloves Up: North Side Edition," wanted to bring together youth from around the North Sacramento area for a night of boxing. The event, modeled on a trend that has seen popularity across the country, was meant to bring awareness to gun violence and offer a healthy alternative.

Sacramento Police said this firearm was recovered near the suspect.
Sacramento Police said this firearm was recovered near the suspect. (Sacramento Police Department)

But the event erupted into chaos when a gunman opened fire, according to the Sacramento Police Department.

Officers were initially called out to the warehouse around 6:30 p.m. on reports of reckless driving on the 1600 block of Juliesse Avenue in the Cannon Industrial Park, not far from Del Paso Boulevard and the Hagginwood neighborhood.

Houston said the officers approached their group — upwards of 300 people — and asked if they were involved in a sideshow. They weren't, Houston said, but a patrol sergeant stayed nearby anyway.

"It made me feel safe that nobody can drive by and shoot at these 300, 400 people in here," Houston said. "They didn't bug us."

Around 8 p.m., the mood changed. According to police, the crowd of people attending the boxing event started running out of the warehouse and the patrol sergeant was told there was a gunman inside.

"It was just chaos," Houston said.

The police sergeant reported hearing multiple gunshots, and running toward the sound to confront a man pointing a gun into the crowd in the building.

Houston never heard the gunshots and didn't witness the shootout. He remained in the warehouse trying to maintain order and calm down the families and children inside. He did, however, come into contact with the suspect before the altercation began.

"I personally could see that he was too intoxicated, so I escorted him out," Houston said.

The sergeant shot the suspect, who was pronounced dead after being taken to a hospital. Police also recovered a 9 mm semi-automatic pistol, found near the suspect after being incapacitated.

Officer Karl Chan, a spokesman for the department, said it was not immediately known if the suspect fired any shots toward the sergeant.

Officers canvassing near the warehouse found another person who was shot in the leg. He was transported to a hospital and his injuries were not life-threatening. Police said they are investigating the circumstances of that shooting and are unsure if the victim was shot by the suspect.

Part of the inspiration behind "Gunz Down Gloves Up" — the first such event organized by Houston — was the recent rash of shootings in the city. Namely, the killing of a 9-year-old girl at Mama Marks Park in early October.

"Just promote putting these guns down and cleaning up the street. Go find something else to do," Houston said. "It's just sad that the end had to transpire like that."

The Sacramento Police Department's Homicide Unit and Internal Affairs Division are investigating, while the Office of Public Safety Accountability and the Sacramento County District Attorney's Office are monitoring the investigation.

Houston didn't hold anything against the sergeant who opened fire, but did admit that things could have gone differently.

"I feel responsible because I didn't handle it better. I should have went out there and talked to him because this is my event. I escorted him out but I didn't go out there and talk to him," he said. "The family, I send all my condolences out ... I don't have nothing bad to say about what they (the police) did."

Houston is still planning on holding more anti-gun violence events for North Sacramento.

The officer-involved shooting requires that video and audio associated with the incident must be released to the public within 30 days, due to the Sacramento City Council's policy on police use of force and Senate Bill 1421. Detectives are working to identify and retrieve the video of the incident, according to the department's news release.

The identity of the suspected gunman will be released by the Sacramento County Coroner's Office.

(c)2020 The Sacramento Bee (Sacramento, Calif.)

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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