Suspect in Sacramento Mass Shooting in 2022 Dies in County Jail

Suspect in Sacramento Mass Shooting in 2022 Dies in County Jail

One of the suspects in the mass shooting in Sacramento that killed six people in 2022 died in a county jail on Saturday, his lawyer said.

The suspect, Smiley Martin, 29, was one of three people charged in the April 2022 shooting that also injured 12 people. The authorities said at the time that it was the worst mass shooting in the California capital’s history.

Mr. Martin, who faced murder and firearm charges in connection to the shooting, had pleaded not guilty. He was being held in Sacramento’s main county jail while preliminary hearings on his case proceeded.

The details on Mr. Martin’s death and what happened leading up to it were unclear. The Sacramento County Sheriff’s Office, which runs the jail, said in a statement that it was investigating the incident.

Early Saturday morning, deputies at the county jail were conducting a cell check when they found an inmate unresponsive, the sheriff’s office said. The deputies administered first aid, and medical workers and the Sacramento Fire Department responded, but the inmate was pronounced dead at the jail. The authorities did not identify the inmate and said the coroner would determine the cause of death.

The sheriff’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

But Mr. Martin’s lawyer, Norman Dawson, confirmed it was his client who died. In a statement, Mr. Dawson said he had been in contact with jail officials and that it was unlikely any details would be released until they concluded their investigation.

The shooting occurred in the early morning hours of April 3, 2022, as crowds left nightclubs in a downtown area, near the capitol. More than 100 shots were fired in what the police described as a gang fight. The tragedy became a symbol of gun violence in the city during a year that saw two other deadly shootings outside nightclubs, leading to one of Sacramento’s highest homicide rates since 2006.

The six people killed ranged in age from 21 to 57. They included an aspiring social worker and a homeless woman who often slept in the area where the shooting unfolded. Prosecutors later said three of the people killed were among those involved in the gang fight.

John Alexander, the father of one of the victims, grieved the loss of his 21-year-old daughter, Johntaya Alexander, during an April court hearing with the suspects. “She was just here to have a good time with her sister, and unfortunately, that good time turned to tragedy, and I miss my daughter dearly,” he said, according to the local news station ABC 10.

The two other suspects charged in the shooting are Mtula Payton and Dandrae Martin, Mr. Martin’s brother. Linda Parisi, Dandrae’s lawyer, said in an interview on Sunday that Smiley’s death was a tragedy. “It’s very devastating for the family,” she added.

Ms. Parisi said the family was also concerned about the safety of Dandrae, who is being held at the same jail.

Two other people have died in Sacramento County’s main jail in recent weeks, according to the sheriff’s office. In May, a 45-year-old man died in an area of the jail that holds people detoxing from drugs, and a 55-year-old man became unresponsive while being fingerprinted and was pronounced dead shortly afterward.

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