A father, who was under a restraining order and not permitted to possess a firearm, shot and killed his three daughters and their chaperone before turning the gun on himself during a supervised visit at a California church, officials said Tuesday.
Deputies responding to reports of a shooting found five people dead, including the shooter, at the church on Wyda Way east of the city, said Sgt. Rod Grassmann with the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Office.
39-year-old David Mora Rojas gunned down his three young girls, 9-year-old Samarah Mora Gutierrez, 10-year-old Samantha Mora Gutierrez, 13-year-old Samia Mora Gutierrez, and their 59-year-old chaperone, Nathaniel Kong, according to the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Office.
Rojas opened fire inside the sanctuary of the Church in Sacramento during a visit just before 5 p.m. on Monday, Feb 28, the ABC reported.
At the time of the killings, Rojas was out on bail after being arrested last week in Merced County on charges of resisting arrest, battery on a police officer, and driving under the influence after he assaulted a California Highway Patrol officer.
The deranged gunman used an AR-15-style semiautomatic rifle in the attack, the sheriff’s office confirmed.
“[It’s] obviously [beyond] anyone’s rational comprehension,” Sheriff Scott Jones told reporters at a news conference late Monday. “You just don’t know what people are capable of.”
The mother of the three girls, who had a restraining order against Rojas, was not in the city at the time of the shooting.
“The mom — I don’t know how you process it,” Jones said.
The restraining order stipulated Rojas only have supervised visits with his daughters for up to four hours per week with a mutually agreed-upon chaperone.
According to business and court records, Kong who had been an executive in the church was serving Rojas with the May 19 restraining order.
“Our church body is devastated and heartbroken by this senseless tragedy and we ask for continued prayer for the victims, their family, and our faith community as we grapple with this unexpected loss and trust the Lord for His strength in our grief,” a church statement said.
Joyce Bilyeu, deputy director of the Sacramento Regional Family Justice Center that provides services to victims of domestic abuse, said restraining order should not be considered a solution or deterrent to abuse.
“It is not a shield of armor,” Bilyeu said.
“Generally a lot of people think a church is a safe place,” she said. But “there’s no metal detectors in a church.”