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Woman killed, six men wounded in strip-mall shootout

Police say the mother was putting her toddler in an SUV when a gun battle started in a barber shop. One man had life-threatening injuries and five others were shot in the stomach, shoulders and legs.

December 15, 2010|By Michael J. Mishak and Jack Dolan, Los Angeles Times
  • A woman's body is covered by a tarp as police investigate a bloody shootout at a strip mall. Police say it started just before 1 p.m. in a barber shop and spilled into a parking lot.
A woman's body is covered by a tarp as police investigate a bloody shootout… (Rick Loomis / Los Angeles…)

Reporting from Sacramento — A mother putting her toddler into a car seat was killed and six men were wounded Tuesday in a rolling gun battle that started inside a Sacramento barber shop.

Sacramento shootings: An article in the Dec. 15 LATExtra section about a shootout at a Sacramento strip mall gave incorrect call letters for a local television station. The station is KOVR Channel 13, not KVOR. —

At least two armed men walked into Fly Cuts and Styles and opened fire just before 1 p.m., authorities said. At least one of the customers pulled a weapon and returned fire, sparking a gunfight that lasted two to three minutes, according to a witness interviewed by local TV station KVOR Channel 13.

Investigators said they don't yet know the motive for the shooting, which began in the barber shop and spilled into the parking lot of the strip mall on Stockton Boulevard in south Sacramento. The gunfire continued as at least one of the suspects climbed into a white sedan to flee. That's when police believe the mother was hit. Her child was not injured.

Officials have not released the dead woman's name or the names of the injured. No arrests have been made.

The woman had stopped at the barber shop to say hello to someone before the shooting began, said Sgt. Tim Curran, spokesman for the Sacramento County Sheriff's Department. When the gun battle erupted and the shooters poured out of the building, she was outside helping her son into his car seat, investigators said.

A bullet struck the woman in the chest, but police do not believe she was the intended target. Her son, who is about 2, was placed with child protective services, Curran said.

One man, whose age was not provided, suffered a life-threatening gunshot wound to the chest, Curran said. A 46-year-old man was hit in the stomach, but the injury is not life-threatening, Curran said.

All of the other wounded men were hit in the shoulders or legs, he said.

Among them was a 37-year-old barber who took a bullet in the ankle, Curran said. KVOR reported that the injured barber said he managed to crawl out the back door of the shop during the gunfight, which he believed lasted for several minutes.

Curran said police don't know how long the shooting lasted, but witness statements indicate between 15 and 30 rounds were fired. Several dozen rounds could be squeezed off in seconds, he said, but it might feel like a very long time for someone caught in the middle.

Investigators said they didn't know what prompted the shooting, but they do not believe robbery was the motive.

"We believe some of those who were wounded will eventually turn out to be suspects." Curran said.

Bullets pierced the window of the No. 1 Buffet, a restaurant across the wide, busy thoroughfare from the strip mall. No injuries were reported in the restaurant.

Sunny Singh, a clerk in a liquor store across the street, said he was cleaning when he heard what he thought were firecrackers before he realized something more serious was happening.

"I never heard, in my life, a gunshot," Singh said.

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