Media Production Editor
Armed with an AR-15-style rifle, 39-year-old David Mora fatally shot his three children, Samia, 13; Samantha, 10; and Samarah, 9, along with another accompanying adult, Nathaniel Kong, before turning the gun on himself in the Arden Arcade Church in Sacramento on Feb. 28. According to the church’s pastor who called the authorities, the gunman fired shots at around 5 p.m. during a supervised court-ordered visit with Mora’s children.
Almost a year prior to the shooting, Mora was hospitalized for a week in April 2021 after expressing suicidal thoughts. Police arrested Mora on Feb. 23, a week prior to the incident, in Merced County on counts of resisting arrest, battery of a police officer, and driving under the influence. However, he posted bail and authorities released him after one night. Additionally, in May 2021, the childrens’ mother placed a five-year domestic violence restraining order against Mora, which also prevented his possession of firearms. Law enforcement stated that it is currently unclear how he obtained the weapon and ammunition. The order further required Mora to stay at least 100 yards away from his ex-girlfriend and their daughters. Despite this, he was able to commit what Sergeant Rod Grassmann, a spokesperson for the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Office, declared as a “domestic-violence-related sort of incident.” In the restraining-order filing, the mother described how Mora threatened to kill her and would physically abuse her.
A court also ordered Mora to attend at least 16 anger management classes before he could see his children under supervision. His estranged girlfriend described him as having psychosis and accused him of “mental instability” in court documents. The court thus granted Mora four hour-long visits with his daughters on Saturdays or Sundays under the watch of an agreed-upon supervisor. Though Hong, a family friend, and victim, was overlooking the visit in an attempt to ensure the safety of the child victims, Faith Whitmore, Chief Executive Officer of the Sacramento Regional Family Justice Center, referenced the violence and declared that victims “do everything they can do and it still happens.”
Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg offered his condolences to friends and family of the victims and described the shooting as an “unspeakable tragedy” that happens “too often.” California Governor Gavin Newsom also spoke of the incident, declaring that it was “another senseless act of gun violence in America—this time in our backyard.”
(Sources: Wall Street Journal, NY Times, Sacramento Bee, ABC10, The Guardian, The Derrick)