SACRAMENTO, CA — A man shot and killed his three daughters, their chaperone and then himself Monday during a supervised visit with the girls at a Sacramento church, authorities said.
The shooting started around 5 p.m. Monday at The Church In Sacramento in the city’s Arden-Arcade neighborhood, Sgt. Rod Grassmann of the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Office told media outlets. The church sits on a mostly residential block near a commercial area east of downtown Sacramento.
“The shooter came in and, what appears to be, killed the person who was supervising the visit, killed his own three children and then turned the gun on himself,” Sheriff ScottJones said.
Gunfire lasted just minutes. The girls were 9, 10 and 13 years old, authorities said. Their mother had a restraining order against the 39-year-old father, Jones said. His name wasn’t immediately released.
The mother lives out of town and was talking with authorities, Jones said. Under the temporary restraining order, the father should not have been able to get a gun, a domestic violence expert told The Sacramento Bee.
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“This is, as far as I can see, at this point a domestic-violence-related sort of incident,” Grassmann told reporters at a news conference.
The Church In Sacramento, which has been operational since 1975 and appeared to be nondenominational, caters to English, Chinese and Spanish worshipers, according to its website. It had been hosting weekly services online due to the pandemic.
A memorial was set up outside the church Tuesday morning to collect donations, The Bee reported.
Gov. Gavin Newsom’s 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 tweeted.
Mayor Darrell Steinberg called the shooting “an unspeakable tragedy.”
“It happens too often, and tonight 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.”
The Associated Press Contributed to this report.