ARDEN ARCADE (CBS13) — Three school-aged children and an adult member of The Church in Sacramento on Wyda Way were identified as victims of a mass shooting at the Sacramento church on Monday night, and by Tuesday morning, a memorial had grown outside of the church in their honor.
Tuesday, the Sacramento County Coroner’s Office identified the victims as: Samantha Mora Gutierrez, 10; Samarah Mora Gutierrez, 9; Samia Mora Gutierrez, 13; and Nathaniel Kong, 59.READ MORE: Stagg High Stabbing Suspect Anthony Gray Ordered To Undergo Mental Evaluation
The girls were identified by a Sacramento County Sheriff’s Office spokesperson as daughters of the suspect, David Mora Rojas, 39. According to authorities, they were at the church on Monday as part of a supervised visit with Mora. Kong was a longtime member of the church, his family told CBS13, and he was supervising the visit.
“Just looking at, listening, talking to the people that went inside initially, you can see it has an effect on them,” said Sgt. Rod Grassmann, spokesperson for the sheriff’s office.
He spoke candidly about the impact that scenes like this one have on law enforcement. Seventy units from the sheriff’s office responded Monday night as well as additional officers from neighboring departments.
“Gunshot wounds are graphic, to see all that… to see that around children, I think, is a very hard thing to do,” said Grassmann.
Mora was not allowed to own guns, firearms, and/or ammunition, according to a Domestic Violence Restraining Order filed in Sacramento County in May 2021.
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Some reports suggested the type of weapon Mora used, and where it was obtained, but Grassmann confirmed to CBS13 the department would not confirm the specific type of weapon used and would only confirm it was a firearm.
“Killing a child is unfathomable. You can’t wrap your brain around it. Even more so, to kill your own child,” said Grassmann.
Mora was living at The Church in Sacramento as part of “some sort of arrangement,” according to Grassmann. The three girls and their mother lived elsewhere.
“Somebody asked me yesterday, ‘How does one do that?’ I don’t know other than to say, ‘You hate your ex more than you love your children,’ ” said Grassmann.
NEW: “The leadership of The Church in Sacramento is shocked and saddened by the tragic shooting that occurred in our church meeting hall late Monday, February 28, resulting in the deaths of five of our members, including three young girls from one of our families.” @CBSSacramento pic.twitter.com/7TjgGNFBaE
— Madisen Keavy (@madisenkeavy) March 2, 2022
Leaders at The Church in Sacramento released a media statement on Tuesday that said their community is, “shocked and saddened” by the shooting. The statement in full said:
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The leadership of The Church in Sacramento is shocked and saddened by the tragic shooting that occurred in our church meeting hall late Monday, February 28, resulting in the deaths of five of our members, including three young girls from one of our families.
Our church body is devastated and heartbroken by this senseless tragedy and we ask for continued prayer for the victims, their family and our faith community as we grapple with this unexpected loss and trust the Lord for His strength in our grief.
We continue to cooperate with the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department in their investigation, are committed to ministering to anyone in need during this difficult time and are doing everything possible to provide comfort to our congregation as we come together as a church family.
A vigil was held at the church at the site of the memorials Tuesday night.