A man killed four people, including three of his children, before turning the gun on himself inside a church in the Sacramento suburbs on Monday evening, authorities said.
The explosion of gunfire took place in the sanctuary at the Church in Sacramento, on Wyda Way east of the city, shortly after 5 p.m., said Sgt. Rodney Grassmann, a spokesman for the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Office.
The shooter took his own life, Grassmann said. It was not immediately clear who the fifth victim was, and Grassmann did not immediately identify any of the victims. All were pronounced dead at the scene.
A large police presence blocked off several streets in the area. Grassmann said a church worker called 911 after hearing gunfire.
Michael Baginski, who was described as a district leader on the church’s website, suggested the shooter was mentally ill and said the man shot his three daughters. Baginski was not at the scene and said the church was not holding services at the time of the shooting. He referred additional questions to another church leader, who did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
It was not immediately clear why the family was there, according to Grassmann, who said there were other people inside the church at the time.
As of 6:30 pm, police said there was no longer an active threat in the area.
Lawmakers in Sacramento reacted to the shooting on social media.
“Another senseless act of gun violence in America — this time in our backyard. In a church with kids inside. Absolutely devastating,” Gov. Gavin Newsom tweeted. “Our hearts go out to the victims, their families and their communities.”
Rep. John Garamendi, whose Northern California district stretches west of Sacramento, said he and his wife, Patti, were “deeply saddened” by the reports.
“A place of worship should never become a war zone, yet this has become our tragic reality,” he tweeted.
This is a breaking news story. Please check back for updates. Queally and Winton reported from Los Angeles and Garrison from Sacramento.