SACRAMENTO, Calif. – A father with a restraining order shot and killed his three daughters, their chaperone and himself during a supervised visit with the girls at a church in Sacramento, California, authorities said.
Sacramento County Coroner’s Office identified the suspect as David Mora Rojas, 39. The victims have been identified as Samantha Mora Gutierrez, 10, Samarah Mora Gutierrez, 9, Samia Mora Gutierrez, 13 and Nathaniel Kong, 59.
Samantha would have turned 11 on Wednesday. The mother was not there at the time of the shooting and has been alerted to what happened.
Deputies responding to reports of gunfire around 5 p.m. Monday found five people dead, including the shooter, at the church in the Arden-Arcade neighborhood, said Sgt. Rod Grassmann with the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Office.
The shooter was estranged from his daughters’ mother, who had a restraining order against him, Sheriff Scott Jones said.
Investigators believe the shooting happened during a supervised visit with the children and that the fourth victim was their chaperone, Jones said.
An employee of The Church In Sacramento heard the gunshots and called 911, Grassmann said.
Sheriff’s officials are investigating it as a domestic violence incident, he said.
Sandi Davis says she was at home nearby when she heard at least five shots in quick succession.
“I hit the cement because I just exited the front door,” Davis said. “It shouldn’t happen. This is supposed to be a safe haven. This hurts. This hurts very deeply.”
The suspect was named in a domestic violence restraining order just last year by the mother of his children. He was barred from owning guns and ordered to attend anger-management sessions.
“Even in the midst of darkness, God is still God,” said a church member who wished only to be identified as Alfredo. “When it happens in an area where you think you’re safe, right, it could happen anywhere, so we need to look at ourselves, examine ourselves and say, you know, maybe I’m harboring some resentment, maybe I’m harboring some anger.”
Sacramento County Supervisor Rich Desmond, who stressed that he lives in the community, said what happened is “evil.”
Officials didn’t know if the family members belonged to The Church, which sits on a mostly residential block near a commercial area east of downtown Sacramento.
The Church caters to English, Chinese and Spanish worshippers, according to its website. No events for Monday were listed on its online calendar.
Gov. Gavin Newsom said his office was working with local law enforcement.
“Another senseless act of gun violence in America — this time in our backyard. In a church with kids inside. Absolutely devastating,” Newsom said on Twitter.
If you or a loved one are experiencing domestic violence and need assistance, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233)