Sacramento K Street Mass Shooting: Is prison making gang violence worse?

A shooting spree that left six people dead and 18 other individuals wounded is being treated as a gang-related incident, the Sacramento Police Department confirmed.

A YouTube video posted shortly after the shooting is shedding new light on what happened Sunday evening and what led up to the shooting.

The video, posted under the account name “Sacramento Gang Archive” and fact-checked by KXTV ABC10 this week claimed the incident’s gang-related ties go “deeper than you think.”

The YouTuber, whose identity is not known, says the shooting happened outside a nightclub along K Street after rival gang members went to the same business. Their nighttime plan to visit the same nightclub was merely a coincidence, the YouTuber says, but the shooting that took place afterward was not.

Sacramento police sources who spoke with KXTV were able to validate about 90 percent of the claims made in the YouTube video, the TV station reported.

Investigators are still gathering photos, videos and eyewitness accounts, including media posted to websites like Twitter, Facebook and Snapchat.

Several people have already been arrested in connection with the shooting, including 27-year-old Smiley Allen Martin, who previously served prison time in connection with a domestic violence case.

Martin was released from prison just two months ago after serving a fraction of his 10-year sentence in the case. He was re-arrested at a local hospital on a weapons violation; police say he was one of the 12 individuals who sustained injuries in the shooting. It is not currently known if Martin fired any shots or if he has any gang ties.

In an interview with the Associated Press, a former Southern California district attorney said Martin would have stayed behind bars until at least May had it not been for Proposition 57, a law enacted in 2016 after broad voter approval that gives prison officials broad leeway in determining jail credits for recidivism-based programming and other incentives.

Officials with the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation declined to provide specific facts on Martin’s rehabilitation credits, saying state law prohibits them from disclosing that information.

Martin was eligible for parole in May 2021 because his domestic violence conviction was considered to be non-violent. At his parole hearing, prosecutors said the man had “little regard for human life and the law.”

Now, progressive politicians are joining their counterparts in suggesting “good time” credits and rehabilitation program incentives need to change for those whose offenses include violent acts.

“If people have a history of committing violent acts, and they have not shown a propensity or willingness to change, I don’t think they should be out on the streets,” Darrell Steinberg, the Mayor of Sacramento, said at a recent event.

On Monday, the Los Angeles Times editorial board noted that Martin was not released from prison early and had actually satisfied his sentence in full based on pre-trial custody credits that were awarded to him by the sentencing judge as well as good time credits earned after his sentence was imposed.

The Los Angeles Times said reporting by the Sacramento Bee and others painted a picture of Martin’s “early release” that was far from reality.

“The half-truths about credits and the falsehoods about parole boards shouldn’t be surprising,” the Los Angeles Times wrote. “But they can cause serious harm by undermining tested policies that improve lives. And they make a mockery of our democratic process by lifting up rumor and anecdote, and making them, rather than facts, central to our collective decision-making.”

Sacramento criminal defense attorney Mark Reichel said incarcerating gang members for minor offenses could create more problems than it solves because individuals tend to be segregated and housed in a way that makes them more susceptible to gang initiation.

“They force you to segregate into that gang from that neighborhood you came from, or you’re affiliated with, and now you’re spending 10 years in the state prison,'” Reichel told ABC10 in an interview.

Reichel said local and state police collect information on suspected gang members in their communities dating back to at least the 1990s. The Sacramento Police Department estimates around 3,000 gang members are in the city, but Reichel said the number could be higher.

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Homeowner hit with $500,000 fine due to little-known Sacramento pot growth ordinance

A Sacramento property owner was hit with a $500,000 fine after his tenants purportedly violated a little-known local ordinance related to marijuana cultivation.

For more than a decade, Rodney Rose has rented out his North Sacramento home to a nice elderly couple with no problems — that is, until the couple decided to let their nephew move in.

The nephew began growing marijuana at the home without first getting a license from the City of Sacramento, and that’s when Rose ran into trouble.

SMUD, the utility company that serves the neighborhood where Rose’s tenants live, noticed a spike in electrical usage at the home in question. They tipped off local authorities, and the Sacramento Police Department raided the property.

What happened next came as a surprise to everyone involved.

“I was not made aware of this, until I received a bill in the mail, from the city of Sacramento, which I thought was a joke,” Rose told local TV station FOX40.

That bill was for $500,000, a fine the City of Sacramento said Rose owed for allowing an unlicensed marijuana cultivation operation to occur on his property.

Rose called city officials, but was told his window of opportunity to appeal the fine had closed. Eventually, he secured an extension of his time to appeal, but then the coronavirus pandemic hit, and city government all but shut down.

When things started to open back up, he was given a hearing via Zoom. An administrative judge ruled against him, saying homeowners could violate the ordinance as it was written at that time, even if they didn’t know about it.

That’s since changed, according to legal expert Mark Reichel, who told FOX40 News that city officials changed the law in late 2019 so that homeowners could invoke an affirmative defense that they didn’t know about marijuana growth on their property.

“Now, innocent owners can give proof that they were an innocent owner, that they didn’t know anything about this,” Reichel said, adding that the City of Sacramento’s ordinance is still one of the toughest in the state and that it generates a significant amount of revenue for the local government.

Rose is now taking his case to state court, where he hopes to dispose of the fine once and for all. He says the tenants he rented to are helping him in the process, and even told police that Rose had no knowledge of the growth operation.

“I knew nothing of this ordinance that the city has — I’m just shocked that’s how they wish to conduct their business,” he said.

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Sacramento man accused of leaving pipe bomb outside school re-arrested

A Sacramento man who was arrested and freed after police suspected him of leaving a pipe bomb near an elementary school was taken into custody once again following a court appearance this week.

Gustavo Aguilar, 57, was initially booked into Sacramento County jail after police accused him of leaving a pipe bomb and a home-made gun near an elementary school earlier this month.

Aguilar was freed on $25,000 bail, only to be re-arrested following a court appearance on Thursday, during which a judge agreed to increase the man’s bail to $150,000.

The bail was re-set after prosecutors with the Sacramento County District Attorney’s Office claimed Aguilar was a flight risk and a danger to the community.

Aguilar is once again in county jail, but Sacramento criminal defense attorney and legal expert Mark Reichel says if he can find a bail bondsman willing to post his bail, he could be set free a second time while he awaits further criminal proceedings.

“If you have $150,000 bail, and you’ve got a bail bondsman willing to post it, you really just have to pay [the bondsman] their costs,” Mark told CBS13 News.

That fee usually works out to around 10 percent of the bail figure, Mark noted, which in this case would be $15,000.

As of Friday, it was not known if anyone had agreed to post Aguilar’s bail for a second time.

Prosecutors say they linked Aguilar to a pipe bomb that was placed outside of Ethel Baker Elementary School earlier this month after reviewing names and other writings on the device.

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AirBNB sues guest after shooting erupts at Sacramento house party

Short-term vacation rental website AirBNB will sue a Sacramento-area customer after a house party at one of its vacation rental homes ended in a violent shooting last week.

The pending lawsuit marks the first time AirBNB has taken legal action against one of its customers in connection with their service.

AirBNB connects homeowners who want to rent rooms to vacationers on a short-term basis. Some homeowners list their entire property for rent on the website, something the service allows.

But what AirBNB doesn’t allow is for customers to book homes for “open-invite parties” or other ragers that aren’t sanctioned by a property owner. The company has cracked down on renting homes for parties since the start of the coronavirus health pandemic.

This week, AirBNB provided media outlets with a statement that accused the Sacramento-area customer of booking a home in the Arden-Arcade neighborhood under false pretenses. The company said the guest, who was not named in their statement, violated numerous county health codes as well as the company’s community standards policy.

“AirBNB has removed the guest from the platform,” the statement said.

That won’t be the last step in the saga: This week, AirBNB said it would initiate legal proceedings against the customer and donate money received through the lawsuit to a Sacramento-area non-violence organization.

Legal expert Mark Reichel said the pending lawsuit comes at a time when AirBNB is preparing to file an initial public offering or I.P.O., and that such a filing normally requires them to have a squeaky-clean image.

“AirBNB is being very proactive in this case and that is an image issue for the company,” Mark told local TV station CBS13 News. “They are planning to go public very soon, and they want to come off as a very clean, by-the-book type of company.”

Mark said the pending lawsuit is also intended to shield AirBNB from certain types of liability in anticipation of separate lawsuits being filed against the company by as many as three victims who were reportedly shot during the party.

“They are getting ready for the rounds of lawsuits that are coming, as if to say, we agree, we’ve already sued this guy, we had nothing to do with it” Mark said.

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