David Fidel Mora-Rojas was identified as the father who shot and killed his three children, a man supervising visitation of them, and himself, in a church in Sacramento, California.
ABC News identified the suspect as Mora-Rojas. Authorities have not yet released the suspect’s or victims’ names.
He said the mass shooting was “not a random act of violence and terrorism,” calling it an “extreme example of what could happen” and an “unfortunate tragic extreme case of domestic violence where… three innocent children’s lives were just cut tragically short.”
The mass shooting occurred in a religious facility called The Church in Sacramento, in the Arden Arcade neighborhood.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Mora-Rojas Shot & Killed His Three Daughters Under Age 15; Sheriff’s Officials Say He Was in the U.S. Illegally
In a news release, sheriff’s officials revealed that Mora-Rojas was illegally in the U.S. They wrote:
The suspect in Monday’s shooting at The Church of Sacramento has been identified by the Sacramento County Coroner’s Office as David Fidel Mora-Rojas (39).
Sacramento County Sheriff’s Office had one contact with Mora-Rojas prior to the shooting. Deputies were called out by church associates to an address on Wyda Way on April 17, 2021 for a welfare check on Mora-Rojas. The caller stated Mora-Rojas had made statements that he wanted to harm himself and his wife. Deputies transported him to a local area hospital and placed him on an involuntary 5150 hold for evaluation by medical professionals. Approximately from that time forward, he lived at the church.
Mora-Rojas was in this country illegally when he was arrested on February 23, 2022, in Merced County for driving under the influence, assaulting a peace officer, and later for assaulting medical staff. While in custody, ICE served a detainer on the jail, but due to state law the jail was unable to hold him or communicate with ICE about his release, and he walked out of jail on a $15,000 bond.
“This unspeakable tragedy highlights the true cost, unintended or not, of sanctuary policies that prevent law enforcement from protecting its citizens”, said Sheriff Scott Jones.
According to Sgt. Rod Grassman, the suspect was a father who “shot and killed his three daughters who are under the age of 15.”
Another person was also killed, he confirmed. Mora-Rojas opened fire “during a supervised visit with the girls” at the Sacramento church, The Associated Press reported.
Police received a call at 5:07 p.m.
Grassman said the suspect took his own life. He said the motive is not clear. He said the shooting happened in a “conference room of some sort” in the main sanctuary area of the church.
The girls were ages 9, 10 and 13,
The mass shooting occurred on Monday, February 28, 2022. A church employee called 911, AP reported.
“Howe and Ethan and Howe and Cottage have a large police presence due to a shooting , please avoid the area. The Sheriffs Office PIO will be at the command Post located at the Home Depot on Howe and cottage,” the Sacramento County Sheriff wrote on Twitter.
The girls were members of the Natomas Unified School District, which released a statement saying, “There are very few words that can give comfort right now for this unspeakable tragedy. There will be a range of emotions from our students and staff, particularly at the schools where the students attended – Bannon Creek and Leroy Greene Academy.”
2. The Mother Had a Restraining Order Against Mora-Rojas, the Sheriff Confirmed
Jones confirmed that the mother had a restraining order against the father.
“It’s just horrific…domestic violence is all too common. This obviously rising to the level of killing innocent children is obviously beyond anyone’s rational comprehension,” he said.
A crime of “this magnitude, where there’s so much death and destruction and deliberation and violence, that is fortunately very rare,” the sheriff continued in the news conference. But it does happen, including across the country, he said, imploring anyone in similar situations to get help, either by speaking with law enforcement or someone they trust to “get a pathway out of a bad situation.”
It’s not clear how long of a history there was in this circumstance, authorities said.
The mother is alive, the sheriff said. “There’s no other destruction and damage that this person caused, and there’s no outstanding suspect,” Jones said.
In the news release, the sheriff revealed:
The mother of his three children had obtained a restraining order against him after a domestic violence incident in April 2021. The restraining order was issued by the Family Law Court through the Superior Court of California, County of Sacramento. The restraining order specifically states that Mora-Rojas cannot own or possess firearms or ammunition. At the conclusion of the shooting, Mora-Rojas had in his possession, an AR style rifle. The firearm had no serial number or manufacturer markings and is what the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives refers to as a Privately Made Firearm (PMF). The rifle had an extended 30 round magazine inserted and 17 casings were found at the scene.
3. The Father had a Supervised Visitation at the Church
Generally, the first tier of supervision has to be someone agreeable to the person being protected by the restraining order, according to the sheriff.
He said it’s not believed that the person supervising the visitation was a government employee, but that person’s name was not released. He said it’s not clear why the church was chosen for the visitation.
He said it’s a church used by several different denominations, but it’s not clear what connection the family had to the church. The sheriff said that parental rights are “very strong” in the court system and the main goal is “reunification” and looking at the “best interest of the child.”
4. Mora-Rojas Has a Previous Arrest History
Mora-Rojas has a previously booking for resisting an officer in Merced County, California, from February 23, 2022, according to Recently Booked.com. That page says he was 39 years old, male, Hispanic, 5 foot 8 inches tall, and 187 pounds.
The father’s criminal history is being scrutinized, authorities said, in addition to how long the restraining order was active. Authorities don’t yet know whether there were other supervised visits before this one.
The Sacramento Bee reported that Mora-Rojas was not legally supposed to possess a gun.
5. California’s Governor Called the Mass Shooting ‘Another Senseless Act of Gun Violence in America’
California’s governor, Gavin Newsom, weighed in on Twitter.
“Another senseless act of gun violence in America – this time in our backyard. In a church with kids inside. Absolutely devastating,” he wrote.
“Our hearts go out to the victims, their families and their communities. We are working closely with local law enforcement.”